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Gc M. L! 







833 02263 5277 








Published fop H. W. Crew bv the 




("••IVKli.llTKD, ISHL', 

II. \v. <'i;i:\v. 



This C].\tk\ni.\1; History of Washington has been written almost exclusively by 
Hon. William B. Wrhl), of Washington, Distrift of Columbia, and J. Wooldridge, of 
Cleveland, Ohio, aUh<iiiL'ii assistance has been received by each writer from numerous 
individuals in Washimdcn wlio have taken an interest in the work. The chaptei's 
written by Mr. Webb aie ('liiii)ter IH., " Washington Becomes the Capital"; Chapter IV., 
"Permanent Capital Site Srlccted"; Chajiter Y., "Pioneer Life"; Chai)ter VII., "Growth 
and Improvement of the Cil\''; and Chapter XXII., "The Bench and Bar." He also 
rendered valuable assistanrc m connection with Chapter XXIII., "The Prosecution of 
Claims Against the Governnni;!. ' Tlio other chapters in the woi-k wcic written l.'\- .Mr. 
Wooldridge, assisted to some exUnl, (■•|iccially in ('hapter XI \'. and ('h.ipter X\"I., hy a 
gentleman of considerable experience i . (his kind of writing. But in all of his oiher chap- 
ters, as well as in these, he was assisted in inaii\ v. ays by nninerou.-^ i itizcns (jI Washing- 
ton, who, from their relations to certain :n-;[itntions or enteiprii>es, or special h atures of 
the history of the city, were better qnalilii^l tl^an others !< upply the data necesi^ary to 
write these particular portions of the history. This was al-;>, !.. a "rrcaler or less extent, 
the case with Mr. Webb. No one can write even a hxat histoiy williout innnerous 
consultations with many of the citizens of the place. And it has been tin e- perience 
of both writers of this History of Washingtox that the great majority of whom 
it was necessary to call upon for assistance in this way were more than usually 
courteous and obliging, and i)erfectly willing to aid to any extent in llu'ir powei- in the 
preparation of a work which they lio])ed would be at least creditable to tliose con- 
cerned in its compilation and its publication, as well as to the city of Washington 
itself. And inasmuch as the individuals who have given assistance in the ways i-eferred 
to in the above sentences have been so numerous, it is believed that they will be 
satisfied if only the smallest possible numbei' are named in this preface. Of those 
whom it would be impossible to omit with any degree of justice, the first is I)i-. J. M. 
Toner, whose advice and assistance were always cheerfully and freely given, and always 
as freely and cheerfully accepted. The only regret in this connection, on the pmt of 


either of the writers, is that it was t'omid impi-actieable, on account of the peculiar 
exigencies of the enterprise, to consult with him as fullj' with reference to sevcial of 
the chapters as it was earnestly desired to do; and it is also i)ropei' to say that wherever 
such omission was unavoidable, the work has suffered to that extent. The other gentle- 
man whom it is also not only a dut}% but at the same time a pleasure, to recognize in 
this way, is ]\Ir. David Hutcheson, assistant librai'ian in the C'ongressional Library. Mr. 
Hutcheson was, during the whole time of the writer's labors in that liljrary, always 
courteous and obliging, going beyond the retiuirements of his position in making valu- 
able suggestions and referring to newspapers and books containing necessarj-^ informa- 
tion; his extensive knowledge of the contents of the library peculiarly qualifying him 
for the performance of these acceptable services. 

That the work is without mistakes is not to be expected. Even Mr. Bancroft's 
great "History of the United States" is sometimes referred to as "merely an exhilution 
of the idiosyncrasies of its author"; and if sucli a criticism can be passed upon the 
greatest of American historians, how can the least hoi>e to escape, even when writing 
under the most favorable auspices, which was fai- from being the case in the preparation 
of this work? l>ut it is not designeil or desired to dwell upon this particular, further 
than to say that a great deal of matter of greater or less value was prepared wliich was 
necessarily excluded from the work in order to avoid the production of an exceedingh- 
unwieliUy volume. But even as it is, it is believed to possess some merit; how much, 
must be left to the kind and considerate judgment of the reader. 

While upon this subject of value, it may not be inapjtropriate to call attention to 
a few of the ei'rors in standard works corrected in this woik ; for it is well known to 
all intelligent readers of history that even standard histories contain numerous errors, 
and that one of the objects of a careful writer is to coi-rect the errors of las predecessors. 
In Barnes's "School History of the T'l^nited States" it is stated that the tirst public 
messages sent over the telegraph wires between Washington and Baltimore in 1844 
were in reference to the nomination of James K. Polk for the Presidency. On page 
4(.)tj of this work this is shown to be an error, the tirst public messages passing on the 
25tli of May, bS44, wliile the announcement of the nomination of 1\\\\ Polk for the 
Presidency was not made until the 29th of that month. In "The Story of W^ishing- 
ton," by Charles P>urr Toild, it is stated on page 38 that "This account is taken from 
the Washington letters in the State Department, and settles the much controverted 
point as to the authorship of the plan of the Capitol." By this, Mr. Todd means that 
in the text of his work he has established the fact that Mr. Hallett's plan of the 
Capitol was selecte<l instead of Dr. Thornton's. In this supposition Mr. Todd is in 
error, and bis assumption jjroves that he did not read all the correspondence on tile in 
the State Department between President Washington and the commissioners, for that 
correspondence shows that while at one stage thereof it was thought best t(j adopt 
Mr. Hallett's plan, yet, after further consideration, Di'. Thornton's plan was in the 


main adnjited, hut modified somewlint by Mr. flal left's idea?. <^)ther papers and doc- 
nments established the same point. Aceordingly, in the chapter on " < Jovernnient 
RiiihUngs," this fact is so stated. To what extent, if to any extent, Dr. Thornton 
appropriated INFr. Hallett's ideas, is not fliscnssetl, tliat part tif tlic controversy between 
those two architects being left to some fntnre historian. These two instances are m(>n- 
tioned merely as illustrations of the efTort made to write with accuracy. 

\\. W. CKKW, 



Washington, George, ----------- Frontispiece 

Britton, Alexander T., ---------- - Facing 401 

Clark, William E., ----------- Facing 398 

Clarke, Daniel B., ----- - Facing 301 

Emery, Matthew G., - - - Facing 394 

Glover, Charles C., ----------- - Facing 389 

Hall, James C, ----------- - Facing 601 

Johnston, William P., ---------- - Facing 603 

Lincoln, Nathan S., ------ Facing 60S 

McIlhenny, George A., ---------- - Facing 433 

Mattingly, William F., - . - - Facing 753 

Morgan, James E., - Facing 605 

NoRMENT, Sajiuel, - - - Facing 397 

NoYES, Crosby S., ------ Facing 459 

Parker, Myron M., ----------- Facing 705 

Prentiss, Daniel W., ------------ Facing 612 

Ross, John W., ------------ Facing 159 

Shepherd, Alexander R., ---------- - Facing 199 

Tallmadge, Theodore W., ---------- Facing 758 

Thomas, Ammi A., - Facing 436 

Thompson, John W., ----------- Facing 356 

Toner, Joseph M., ------- Facing 609 

Webb, William B,, - . . . Facing 751 

Wilson, Jesse B., ------------ Facing 402 





Situation and Natural Surroundings of the City — The District of ('olumbia — Prime 
Meridians of tlie World — Design of Making and Attempts to Make the Merid- 
ian of Washington a Prime Meridian — History of the P^fforts to Determine the 
Latitude and Longitude (jf Washington — Etibrts to Estaldish an Astronomical 
Observatory at Washington — William Lambert's Work — Andrew EUieott's Work 

— Errors in Mr. Lambert's Work--R. T. Paine's Work — Sears C. Walker's Work 

— Latitude and Longitude of the Four Corners of the District of Columbia, of the 
Washington Monument, and of tlie Naval (Jbservatory — Ellicott's Azimuth Mark 

— Other Original Landmarks — The Center Stone — The Center of the District of 
Columbia — The Climate of Washington — Thermometrical and Barometrical Eleva- 
tions — The Potomac River — .Jefferson's Description of the Confluence of the Poto- 
mac and Shenandoah Rivers — The Great Falls — Captain John Smith's Exploration 
of the Potomac — The Potomac Fisheries — Theoretic Geology of the Vicinity of Wash- 
ington — Economic Geology — The Botany of the District of Columbia v... 17-55 



First Exploration of Chesapeake Bay and its Tributaries — Tribes of Indians upon the 
Bay — The Powhatans, the Manahoacs, and the Monacons — The Moyaones, the 
Nacotchtants, and the_ Toags — The Shawanese — The Snsquehannocks, the Tock- 
wocks, and the Nanticokes — The Delawares — Indian Fishing Ground — Indian 
Tradition as to Greenleaf's Point — Formation of the Indian Names of Rivers — 
Fate of the Delaware Indians — Resemblance between Indians of Maryland and 
Virginia — Massacres of and by Indians — Marriage of Pocahontas — The All-Con- 
quering Iroquois — The Changing Fortunes of the Aborigines — The Descendants 
of the Powhatans Embrace Mormonism 56-Ha 


The First American Congress — Circular Letter to the Colonies — Tlie Spirit of Inde- 
pendence — The Necessity of a Permanent Seat of Government — The Attack upon 
Congress in Philadelphia — Its Effect — Offers from States for a Site for a Perma- 
nent Residence — Views of Individuals — Discussions on the Subject in Congress — 


The Plan of Two Federal Towns — The Convention of 1787 — The Nature of 
Control over the Seat of Government Sought by Congress — History of the 
Movement to Settle the Question of a Permanent Seat of Government— The 
Question Finally Set at Rest — Tlie Act of July, 1790, Authorizing the President 
to Locate the Federal District —Tlie liemoval of the Federal Offices to the City of 
Washington 04-88 



The Act of Congress Approved July IH, 17U0 — Appointment of Commissioners — Presi- 
dent Washington's Proclamation — Location and Surroundings of the District Chosen 
under Above Act— Description of the Site by John Cotton Smith — Extract from 
the Herald — Carrollsburgh and Hamljurgh — The Agreement with the Proprietors 

— The Act of ]Maryland — Conveyance of Lands to Trustees— ]Maj or Pierre Charles 
L'Enfant Selected to Prepare a Plan of the City — His Plan Approved — Thomas 
Jefferson's I'art in This Matter — The Name, "City of Washington," Conferred 

— The Plan of the City Discussed — Major L'Eufant's Dismissal — Act of Congress 
Compensating L'Enfant for His Services — Andrew Ellicott Succeeds L'Enfant — 
Completes the Sui-vey of the District of Cohunbia — Close of the Rule of the 
Commissioners — Difficulties with the Original Proprietors — Washington's Letter 
in Reference Thereto — David Burns Still Ol^stinate — Finally Yields — Extracts 
from New York Dailji .Idrert/.srr— p]stimate of the Value of the Work of Those 
Who Selected the Site of the National Capital 87-107 



The Early Settlers of the District of Columbia — Daniel Carroll, of Duddington — David 
Burns— Mari'ia Burns — John P. Van Ness — Notley Young — Benjamin Oden — 
Robert Peter — The Removal of the Government to Washington — Officers Who 
Came Here at That Time — Sanuiel Meredith — Thomas Tudor Tucker— Joseph 
Nourse — Richard Harrison — Peter Hagner — John Steele — Gabriel Duval — William 
Simmons — Thomas Turner — Abraham Bradley, Jr.— Thomas Munroe — Roger C. 
Weightman — Stephen L. Hallett — Dr. William Thornton — George Hadfield— Ben- 
jamin Henry Latro))e — Pierre Charles L'Enfant — Samuel Ihirrison Smith — Andrew 
Ellicott — Benjamin Bannecker lOS-121 



The Municipal Government of the City of Washington— The Acts of Maryland and 
Virginia Ceding Territory — The Connection of the Location of the Cai)ital with 
the State Debt Question — Thomas Jefferson Quoted — The Amended Act Relating 
to the District — President Wasliington's Letters and Proclamations — The First 
Commissioners — Tlie Setting of the Corner Stone of the District — Difficulties with 
the Proprietors — The Agreement with Them — Major L'Enfant's Instructions— His 


Agreement with John Gibson — He Demolishes Daniel C/arroll's House — His Course 
Approved by a Portion of the Proprietors — The First Commissioners in Full — The 
First Charter of Washington — The First Election under lt^8ubse(]uent Elections 

— Incidents in the Political Historj' of the City — The Charter of 1S2() — The 
Mayors of the City — Congressional Legislation as Ail'ecting the District — Indig- 
nation of the Citizens — Congress Comes Near Abolishing Slavery in Washington 

— Election Riots in 1857 — Know-Nothingism — Mayor Berret Arrested — Kirhard 
Wallach Becomes Mayor — M. G. Emery Elected INIayor^The Territorial Govern- 
ment — Alexander R. iShepherd's Work — The Government by Commissioners — The 
Police Department — Soldiers on the Force — The AVater Department and (ilreat 
Aqueduct — The Fire Department — The City Post Olhce 122-179 



The Grandeur of the Plan of the Capital — Early Inhabitants — Early Attempts to 
Improve the City — Locality of First Improvements — Notcil Residences in Wash- 
ington — Quotation from Benjamin 0. Tayloe — John Sessford's Statistics — About 
the Removal of the Capital — Work under the Charter of 1820 — Improvement on 
Pennsylvania Avenue — Senator Southard's Report — W. W. Seaton's Report — 
Statistics of Buildings Erected in Recent Years — Census and Debt of the District 

— Progress Since the War — Change in Form of Government — The ^4,000,000 Loan 

— Sewerage Built — Street Improvements — Governor Shepherd's Work — Area of 
Public Parks — Extent of Paved Streets 180-201 



The Causes of the War of 1812-15 — The Embargoes — Tammany Society of Washington 
to President Jefferson — War in Prospect — President Madison Convenes Congress — 
Congress Declares War — Recruiting in Washington — Reorganization of the Militia of 
the District — Military Organizations — British Ships in the Potomac — Excitement in 
Washington — General Winder Arrives in Washington — The Battle of St. Leonard's 

— The Battle of Bladensburg — President Madison's Proclamation — Peace through 
the Treaty of Ghent — The War with Mexico — Annexation of Texas by Ti-eaty 
or Joint Resolution — Organization of Troojis for the War — Peace with Mexico 

— The War of the Rebellion — Brief Statement of its Causes — The Insurrection 
at Harper's Ferry — Ratification Meetings — Attack on the Republican Headquarters 

— Meeting of Southern Senators to Further the Secession of Their States — The 
Peace Convention— Mr. Lincoln's Arrival in Washington — His Inauguration — 
]\Iilitary Companies — Proclamation Calling for Seventy-live Thousand Men — First 
Troops to Arrive in Washington — Military Department Created — INIilitia Ollicers 
Commissioned — Battalions ( )rganized — Crossing the Potomac — Colonel Ellsworth 
Killed — Fortifications Around the City — First War Dispatch from a lialloon — 
Battle of Bull Run — The Army Bakery — Troops in Defense of Washington— War 
Meeting in the Capitol — Second Battle of P^ill Run — Battle of A ntietam — Hos- 
pitals in Washington — Proclamation of Emancipation — Drafts in the District 

— Ladies' Relief Association — General Earlv Attacks Washington — Surrender of 


Richmond — Lee's Surrender — Assassination nf President Lincoln — Contiscation 
of Property — The Grand Review — Altolition of Slavery in the District of Col- 
nmbia \ 202-2S4 



The First Exploration of the Potomac River — The Potomac Company — The Chesa- 
peake and Ohio Canal Comiiany — The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company 

— The Metropolitan Railroad Company — The Baltimore and Potomac Railroad 
Company — The Washinifton and Alexandria Railroad Company — The Washing- 
ton and Potomac Railroad Company— The Washington and Chesapeake Railroad 
Company — The First Bridge across Rock Creek — Tlie Chain Bridge — The Long 
Bridge — The Washington and Georgetown Railroad Comjiany- The Metropolitan 
Railroad Company — Tlie Columbia Railroad Company — The Anacostia and Poto- 
mac Railroad Company — The Capitol, Xorth () Street, and South Washington 
Railroad Company — The Rock Creek Railroail Company — The Eckington and 
Soldiers' Home Railroad Company — The Georgetown and Tennallytown Railroad 
Company — The Norfolk and Washington Steamboat Company — The Mount Ver- 
non and JNIarshall Mall Steamboat Com])any— (Jther Steamboat Companies 285-350 



The Rank of Columbia — The Bank of the United States — Otttce of Discount and De- 
posit in Washington — "The Produce Bank of the Potomac" — The Bank of the 
Metropolis — The National Metropolitan Bank— The Bank of Washington — The 
National Bank of AVashington — The Union Bank of Georgetown — The Central 
Bank of Georgetown and Washington — The Farmers and ^lechanics' Bank — The 
Patriotic Bank — Confusion of the Finances — The Second National Bank — John 
C. Calhoun on the National Bank — Directors of the Branch Ikmk in Washington 

— President Jackson's Animosity to the National Bank — Suspension of Specie 
Payments — Extension of Charters of the District Banks — TrouV)les with the Cur- 
rency — President Tyler's Vetoes — The Banks of the District Practically Extin- 
guished — The Freedman's Saving and Trust Company — Riggs c*c Company — First 
National Bank — Merchants' National Bank — National Bank of the Republic — 
National Savings Bank — National Safe ])eposit Company — National Cajiital Bank 
of Washington — Second National Bank — Citizens' National Bank — Washington 
Safe Deposit Company — Columbia National Bank — Washington Loan and Trust 
Company — American Security and Trust Company — Lincoln National Bank — 
West End National Bank — Traders' National Bank — Oliio National Bank — Private 
Banking Institutions ?.51-405 



Early Business Firms — Prices of Nails — A Commercial Company Established — Business 
Firms in LSOP) — A Fair in Washington — Regulations for Making Bread — Piano- 
fortes First Imported — The City in 1816 — The Coal Trade in 1854— Merchants' 

CONTENrS. xiii 

Exchange Orguiiiznl — Tiiol)er Shiinuciits- SU'umsliij) l ouipanii's AiKithcr .Mer- 
chants' Excluiiigc — Changed to a Board of Trade — The I'resenI Hoard of Trade 

— The Markets — The Cohmibiun Exposition -10(J-421 



Early Establishments — A Nail Factory — A Hat Factory — The Steam Engine — Thresh- 
ing Machine — The C!olnm])ia Mannfat'turinj^ Company — Foxall's iMiundiv — Manu- 
factory of Fire Engines — The Columbia Rolling Mills — Paper Mills — l^)pe's 
Threshing Machine — Bomford's Flouring Mill — Creorge Page, Slnpbuilder — Steam 
Marble and Brown Stone Works — George Hill, Jr.'s Paper Mill — William Stick- 
ney's Envelope Manufactory — The Washington (jas Light Coni])any — Tiie Tnited 
States Electric Lighting Company — Summary of Manufacturing Establisiimeiits in 
Existence at the Present Time 422-439 



The Washington Gazt'ttf — The National IntelUgenccr — The Washington Dally dazette — 
The Washington Fideralhl — The Washington Repablican — Tlie Werkh/ Messenger 

— The Washington Mirror — The UniteAl States Telegraph — The Olobe — The Madl- 
sonian — The Native A)aerlcan — The Cohunhian Star — Tlie (Jolunthiau (Jazette — The 
^Vashiugtou Union — The Repablin — The Spectator — The National Era — The Federal 
Republican — The American Telegrajih — The Washington Sentinel — The Constitutional 
Union — The American Organ — The Sunday Morning Clironicle — The National Repub- 
lican — The Daily Patriot — The Evening Star — The Washington Post — The Wash- 
ington Critic — The Capital — The Public Service — Tlie Honw Magazine — The Sunday 
Herald — The Republic — The Washington Sentinel — The National Tribune — The 
National Vieiv — The American Farmer — The American Anthropologist — The Vedette 

— Kate Field's Washington — Public Opinion — The Congressioind Record — Oi]\ev 
Papers — The Electric Telegraph — Press Agencies 44u-4tJ8 



Early Schools — John McLeod — Lancasterian School — Private Schools — Colored Schools 

— Public Schools of Washington — Georgetown College — Columbian University — 
Howard University — National University — The Catholic Universitv of America 

— American University — Gouzaga College — Colundjia Institution for the I'eaf and 
Dumb — St. John's College — The Academy of the Holy Cross — St. Cecilia's Acad- 
emy — The Spencerian Business College — (rlen Echo Ciiautauqua — National Bureau 
of Education — Norwt)od Institute — Wood's Commercial College — Way land Senu- 
nary — The Ivy Institute — Mount W-rnon Senunaiy — Cohnnbia College of Com- 
merce — Libraries in Washington 469-516 

xiv coNT/:N'rs. 

ciiai''1'i;k w. 

i.iri:i:.\Tini: .\si> m:t. 

Wai.ltii'- aii'l l.lli.ilt's Wciiks otlur Aiilliois Lil«Taiy Wrilt-rs nl \\ asliiiiL'ton — 
(i. A. 'I'i>\viisi'ii<l — I'xii: rnlcy I'mihc Mis. Suutliwinlli I'mffssur llainl — (ioii- 
cral II. \'. r.<«yiitnii I>i. .1. .M. T.iiici (iciUL'c haiicrolt — Mrs. I'.iiriu-lt — Srii-ii- 
lilic Wril.-i-s William W. WcM.-.I. \V. r..\vi'll \V. .1. M. ( ;,c Anliitrct.s — 
llalU-lt lla.llicl.l lluhaii — l,atrnlK. Kiilliiidi .Mills \\:\\Wv (lark ("luss 
Sclinl/i- Miillt'tt — Hill I'ap' — ruiinlcNicr — i'laziiT ( 'incuiaii iJalli'iy of .\rt 

Arti-t- :a\) w::.\ 

CIIAI'TKU .\\1. 
(' u me II 11 isr<> i: v. 

'rrinity ('atlmlii- ("liurcli St. ralricU's ("liurrli — St. I'clci'- Clmivli - St. Mattiicw's 
Chuiili St. Mary's Cliiinli St. iKmiiiiicV Clmn li Si. .\l..y>iiiv" Cliiirfli - 
(MhtT Catliulic Chmrhi's -St. Tani's Cliiinli — ("lirist Church — St. 
.lohii's Church, ( IcurL'otown St. .luhn's ("hiirch, WashiiiL'toii — Other l']|)>]ial 
C'liurchcs — 1 »nMliaitnii .\vcnuf Mdhixlist l",|iiscci|ial ('liuicli, < JfuiL'cti'WU ^ — l"Murth 
Street Church I'dumliy Church Wesley Chapel Kylan.l Chapt'l oilier Mi'lli- 
<Mli>t lliiiscupal Churches— Metho.list I'mtestant Churches — West Street I'reshy- 
terian Church, ( ieorizetnwii — I'irsl ('liiir<ii F Street Church — Secouil Church 

— New York .\veuue Churcli I'liurlii Cinirch — Other I'resbyleriau Churches 

— Con^'rofiational Chuiches — I'irst Uajitist Ciiunh — Second Church- V. Stri'et 
Cliurch — Otiu'r Uaptist Churches < leruiaii l'",vaiiL'elic:il Lutheran Church — St. 
Paul's I'aijrlisli Lutheran ('hnrcli Trinily Ciiurch St. .Inlm's .iohanues'i Church 

(Mher i.utheran Churches Tlu' IJeforuietl Churches — luiteil lirethren Church 
Cuitariau Churches- N'enunnt .\ venue Christian Church Ninth Stri'ct Church 

— The WashiiiL'ton llelirew CnnL're^jatiun The .\(lauis Israel CiinL^rejialinn — The 
Churcii ..I the City r);!4-.')S8 

CIlAl'TKK X\ll. 
M i: i> ic A I. II isro n v. 

I ntniiluction ol X'accinatinn in the district of ('.ilumhia l!arly I'hysicians - lleallhl'ul- 
ness ..I' W:i-liiii'_'lon r.oai.j of Health -Cholera i:|.i(i.'niic -Its rrevenliou hy 
the r.(iaril of llcallh |icalh> fmni Cholera -Sketches of I'hysiiians- .Me.lieal 
Societies r)S',(-()17 

CILM'TKI: Will. 
mil. If .\M> ( iim:i iwr.i.i: issiirrrioys. 

TIk' Smithsonian lu>tilnliou — Cniteil Siah > Naval <>l»ervatory The Con<_'rePsional 
l.ihrary -The Navy \:i\A -The Soldiers' 1 louie — National .\>ylum for the In- 
sane — l'ro\ i.lence Hospital Cohimliia Hospital — WashiuLrton » Irphan Asylum — 
St. Vincent's IVmale ( )rphan Asylum (i.irlield Memorial Hospital Other I'ldilic 
and Charitahic In-tilutions r,ls (i.")7 




The Capitol — Tlie President's Mansion — The City Hall — The Treasury Department — 
The Patent Office — Department of Agriculture — Pension Building — The Bureau 
of Engraving and Printing — The. State, War, and Navy Department Building — The 
New Congressional Library Building — Washington National Monument — (jreen- 
ough's Statue of Washington — The Jackson Statue — Mill's Statue of Wasliington 

— Mrs. Hoxie's Statue of Farragut — The Lincoln Statue — The Scott Statue — The 
Rawlins Statue — The "Emancipation" Statue — The Statue of Peace — The Mc- 
Pherson Statue — The Greene Statue — The Thomas Statue — The Franklin Statue 

— The Marshall Statue — The Gartield Statue — The Henry Statue — The Dupout 
Statue — The Luther Statue — The Lafayette Statue 658-695 



First Burying Ground — Congressional Cemetery — Oak Hill Cemetery — Rock Creek Cem- 
etery — Glenwood Cemetery — Arlington Cemetery — Other Cemeteries 696-701 



Masonry — Its Introduction into the United States — In Georgetown — Federal City 
Lodge, No. 15 — Potomac Lodge, No. 43, and No. 5 — Lorenzo Dow and Masonry 

— Masonic Hall in Georgetown — Masonic Hall Association in Washington — 
Masonic Temple — Grand Masters of the District of Columbia — Masonic Lodges 

— Knights Temi^lar — Other Organizations — Odd Fellowship Introduced into the 
LTnited States — First Lodge in Washington — Grand Lodge in the District of Col- 
umbia — Odd Fellows' Hall — Lodges in Washington — Grand United Order of Odd 
Fellows — Knights of Pythias — Washington Library Comjiany — Washington Bible 
Society — Young Men's Christian Association — Women's Christian Association — 
Patriotic Orders — Scientihc Associations 702-715 



The Peculiar Character of the District of Columbia — Laws of the States of Virginia 
and Maryland Continued in Force Therein — Rights Preserved — Appeals to the 
Supreme Court — The Circuit Court — The Orphans' Court — Police Court — District 
Marshal — The Jurisdiction of the Courts — Kendall rrrsus the United States — 
Chief Justices of the Circuit Court — Thomas .Johnson — William Kilty — William 
Cranch — George W. Hopkins — .Tames Dunlop — Associate Justices — James ]\Iar- 
shall — Nicholas Fitzhugh — Allen R. Duckett — Buckner Thruston — James S. Mor- 
sell — William M. Merrick — The Supreme Court of the District of Columbia — 
David K. Cartter — Edward F. Bingiiam — Abraham B. ()lin — George P. Fisher 



— .\n<ln« Wylif l». ( '. I Iniui.lirifs Ailluir M.Artlmr A. I'.. IImltiht WmIut 
S. (V(x — Cliarlcs I', .laiiu-.s .Martin \'. Miiiit;:oiiuTv Ainlifw ('. I'.iinllcy Tlii' 
I'riiiiiiinl Cmiit 'rimniiis llarllcv C'lawfnnl Tlif I'oliiv Cimrt- ( \-l»'liratttl ('as^■^^ 
ill ilif ('".lilts 111 till- Iiistriit i>l" ('olniiiliia - Tin* Ijiwrt'ticf ( 'as*- -Tlic W'liitf Case 

Tin- lianliiifi Case - Tin- Ih-rbi-rt ( "asr The Sickles Case- Tin- Assassination 

ul IVesiilciil l.iii(i>lii -Ilallett Killiniirii I'lir (iiiitfaii CuHf-Tlu' Star Uoute ("hki'S 

Meiiiltfis (it tin- I'Jiily |{ar - Kranci.s S. Key- William I,. I'.reiit I'liilip l{. Ken- 

• lall Kielianl S. ("i>xe- .Insepli H. I'.railiey — .lames .M. Carlisle Henry May 

— The i'lt'seiit l'>ai Till 7");i 



'llie i'luseriitiiiii iif Claims A'_'aiiist the < l(i\ eriimeiil — ( 'hiims (Iniwin;.' ( »ut of tlii' Wars 
Ml tin- Cniintiy 'I'lie r.danl ul ( 'ommissimiers uii Mexican War ('iaims Natnre 
III 'I'hese ('Iaims i.'iM|uir o l.awyi is nf the Hi^'hest Slandiii;.' ami Al'ilil\ The C<piiil 
ul Claims Aiiuniiils I'aiil ()iil in I'ensions — Iinj)(iitaiii-e ul the rrufessitiii 
(ieui^re i;. l,eiiiuir> I'.uildiii".' — Names uf Sume uf tiie Atturneys Knt.'age<l in the 
I'liisecntiuii ul' Chiims 7")-4-7")it 

History of Washington. 



Situation and Natural Surroundings of the City — The District of Columbia — Prime 
Meridians of the World — Design of Making and Attempts to Make the Merid- 
ian of Washington a Prime Meridian — History of the Efforts to Determine the 
Latitude and Longitude of Washington — I^fForts to Establish an Astronomical 
Observatory at Washington — William Lambert's Work — Andrew Ellicott's Work 

— Errors in Mr. Lambert's Work--R. T. Paine's Work — Sears C. Walker's Work 

— Latitude and Longitude of the Four Corners of the District of Columbia, of the 
Washington Monument, and of the Naval Observatory — Ellicott's Azimuth Mark 

— Other Original Landmarks — The Center Stone — The Center of the District of 
Columbia — The Climate of Washington — Thermometrical and Barometrical Eleva- 
tions — The Potomac River — Jefferson's Description of the Confluence of the 
Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers — The Great Falls — Captain John Smith's Explo- 
ration of the Potomac — The Potomac Fisheries — Theoretic Geology of the Vicinity 
of Washington — Economic Geology— The Botany of the District of Columbia. 

THE first question to be asked about a place is as to its situation; and 
usually this has reference to its latitude, longitude, elevation above 
the sea, and natural surroundings. In answering such questions as 
these with regard to Washington, the Capital of the United States, it 
is proper to begin with its latitude and longitude, and the history of 
the determination thereof, although these were not determined even 
approximately until some years after its selection as the site of 
the Capital of the Nation. However, it may be briefly stated that 
Washington is situated on the north side of the Potomac River, about 
one hundred and sixty miles from its mouth. It is within the District 
of Columbia, which, as originally laid out, was in the form of a 
square, ten miles in length on each side, and hence containing one 
hundred square miles of territory. The sides of this square extended 
at an angle of forty-five degrees with the meridian line, so that the 
several corners of the square pointed respectively to the north, east, 


U/SrORY OF ]\.lS//I\GTO.y. 

south. Mild wi'st. Tlif south ronuT, oi' point, was at thf iiortli cape ()f 
Ilniitiiii;- C'riH'k, was known otherwise us Jones's Point, and was on ihe 
risrlit hank of the Potomac liivci', just l)elow Ah^xandria. Thf north 
corner is al»ont a mih' from Kock ('reck, in Marvhintk The wi'st corner 
was ni'ar the Four-mile Koad, in X'ir^inia, and \\\v east corner is al)()iit 
two mih's east of the Kastern IJraiich, near Phidcnsltur^-, Maryhmd. 

Inasmuch as it is niH-cssarv to intro(hice an a«-coiint ot the 
estahlishment of the meridian of h)nuitudi' passinu- throuu-Ji Wash- 
iiii^ton, it is deemed appropriate to present in the same coniu'ction 
hrief mention of the various first meridians of tlie worhh The earliest 
astronomer to (h'termine lonijitude hy astronomy was Ilipi)archus, of 
Khodes. who chose t'or his lirst meridian that of lihodes, where he 
ohservetl. Tins island is on the dividinu' line hetween the yEgcaii and 
the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. Ptolemy adoi)ted a meridian 
runiiinu- through the hi.nilti Forlaiuitd, as heing the farthest known 
land toward the west; while the Arahs atlopted the meridian of tlie 
Straits of Gihraltar. in the eleventh century, Alphonso X., of Castile, 
adopted the meridian of Toledo. After the discovery of America 
hy Columhus, and the voyages of the Portuguese navigators, Pope 
Calixtus caused the adoiitioii of the meridian thirty-live degrees west 
of Lishon: l>ut later on, the tirst meridian was set hack two degrees 
toward the east. Meanwhile, Protestant nations remained refractory 
to anv action in this respect taken hy Home. The Dutch adhered to 
the meridian of Ptolemy until they changed it to that of the ]>eak 
of Tenerifte: hut a scientific congress, assemhlcd hy Kichelieu, at 
Paris, in KioO, selected the meridian passing througii the island of 
p\.i-,.o_ Olio of the Canary Islands — for this purpose. Other famous 
tirst meridians have heeii that of rraniemherg, and that of San 
Miu'uel. one of the A/.ores, twenty-nine degrees ami twenty-tive minutes 
west of Paris, 'idiese continued to he used for a long time, yet the 
meridian of Ferro. authorized hy Louis XIII., April 2;'), lO'U, gradually 
3iipersedetl all the others. In 1724, tlu' longitude of Paris tVom the 
west coast of Ferro was found hy Louis Feuillee, sent there hy 
the Paris Ai-ademv, to he twenty degrees, one minute, and forty-five 
seconds; hut uimui the ju'oposition of (ludhiunu' de i/isle. the meridian 
of Ferro was assumed to he ju-ccisely twi-nty degrees west of the 
Paris ohservatory. The Lngli>li held to the meridian of London, and 
added that of damaiea, which island they had just conquered. During 
the first half ot the seventeenth century, Mercator traced his tirst 
meridian through the Azores, his choice heing (letcrmiiied hy the 
circumstance that, in his time, at that huigitndc. the magnetic needle 


invariably pointed to the north. Mercator, however, was unaware of 
the fact tliat the magnetic nieridian undergoes a constant but imper- 
ceptible oscillation, and that its extreme positions vary by man}' 

Since the establishment of the meridian passing through the island 
of Ferro by Louis XTII., in 1634, each nation lias held to the meridian 
passing through its principal metropolis, the three most in use since 
that time being that of this island, that of Paris, and that of Green- 
wich. The proceedings of the Washington Meridian Conference, held 
in 1884, with the view of establishing a first meridian of the world, will 
be detailed in their proper place. 

The history of the determination of the longitude and latitude of 
the city, or rather of the Capitol building, is briefly as follows: 

On October 20, 1804, Mr. William Lambert made observations on 
the occultation of Alcyone, one of the Pleiades, by the moon, from a 
position near the President's House. This was on Saturday evenino-. 
On Tuesday, November 14, 1809, Mr. Lambert prepared an abstract 
of calculations made for the purpose of determining the longitude of 
Washington from the observatory at Greenwich, England. In the 
introduction to this abstract of calculations he said: 

"By the plan of the city of Washington, in the Territory of 
Columbia, the Capitol in that city is intended as a first meridian for 
the United States of America; but in order to establish it as such, the 
distance between it and some known meridian in Europe or elsewhere, 
measured or estimated on a parallel to the equator, and referred to 
the center of the earth under the respective meridians for which the 
computations may be made, shoukl be ascertained on correct principles 
and with due precision. As many of our navigators and geographers 
are in the habit of taking their departure, or reckoning their lono-itndc, 
from Greenwich Observatory, England, it will _n^^_it is hoped, be 
considered as an instance of unpardonable -pfrefeumption for attempting 
to extricate ourselves from a sort of deprecating and unnecessary 
dependence on a foreign ngitoli, by laying a foundation for fixing a 
first meridian of our own."' 

Thus, from the first, it is evident fhaf" Besides the" object of 
finding the longitude of the city of Washington, another object was 
likewise entertained, namely, thdt of establishing a first meridian for 
the United States, in order that this country might be independent 
of other nations astronomically as well as politicall}'. Of course it 
will be expected by no one that the details of Mr. Lambert's 
calculations will be presented here. The reader will desire to be 


iiistiiictiMl iiiainlv :is to tlu- rosiilts t»t' tliosi- ()l)si'rviirKnis and calcula- 
tions. After prosciitiniii: tlio rules for oi)taiMiii,ir most of the elements 
uoccssarv in the computation, Mr. Lamheft collcctd and aiian^i^ed 
the ivsults ol)taitied as lollows: •• Latitude of the C^qiitol in Wiish- 
inirton hv oltsi'ivation. t hirty-eitjht degrees, fifty-two minutes, and 
thirtv-seven sei-onds; latitude ot' the Capitol, reduced ( .')34 to '-V-V^i), 
thirtv-oiirht degrees, forty-two minutes, and tifty-two and nine hundred 
and tliirtv-nine tliousandtlis seconds; latitude of the Capitol, reduced 
(2:](> to 'Jii!!). tliirtv-eight degrees, thirty-eight minutes, ami nineteen 
and four hundred and sixty-five tliousandths seconds; estimated longi- 
tude from (ireenwich, iive liours, seven minutes, and thirty-six 
seconds, or scvcnty-six degrees and tifty-four minutes west.'' But 
with reference to the longitude. Mr. J.amhert closes as follows: "Sup- 
posing the ei-ror of tin- watch and the apjtarent times of immersion 
and emersion to havi- ix'i-n exactly as they are liere stated, tlie 
h)ngitude of the Capitol in the city of Wasliiugton from Greenwich 
Observatorv. l»v actual caK-ulation, is determined as follows: Witiiout 
reduction of latitmK' with the moon's horizontal ]»arallax, seventy-six 
degrees, tifty-.^ix minutes, and eleven and seventy-seven hundredths 
seconds; reduce.l (384 to 333), seventy-six degrees, iifty-four minutes, 
and four and one huiidre(l and twenty-live tliousandths seconds: reduced 
(230 to 2:ii' ), seventy-six degrees, tifty -three minutes, and six and 
ninety- three hundrcdtlis seconds." 

r>v the tiist process above, the form of tiie (>arth was assumed to 
be a jiorfect sphere: ami in the set-ond and third, it was assumed 
to be an oblate spheroid, witli tiie ratio in tiie second between the 
e([uatorial and polar diameters of 334 to 33-"5. and in the third, with a 
ratio of 230 to -J^It. I'poii the assuniptioii of a ratio of 282 to 281, 
the lonL:"itii(le of the Cajdtol was toiiiid to be seventy-six degrees, 
tifty-tiiree minutes, and thirty-tive and ti\e humlrcil and twenty-seven 
tliousandtlis seconds. 

On March !'. and April 2. ISIO. Mr. Lamhert submitted other 
calculations. < )ii March 2S, Mr. I'itkin, from the coniinittee cm 
Mr. LaniliertV memorial, sultmittcd to the House of Keprcseiitatives 
a report closing as follows: 

'•'■ Rtsolral, That it is expetlieiit to make pro\ision by law autlior- 
iziii«i- the rresideiit of the I'liited States to cause the longitude ot 
the Capitol in the city of Washington from the ol)servatory at Creen- 
wich. 111 Knglaiid, to be ascertaineil with the greatest degree of 
accuracy, and also authorize him, for that purpose, to procure the 
necessarv instruments," 


July 3, 1812, President Monroe submitted to Congress the report 
of his Secretary of State approving the project of establishing a first 
meridian for the United States, and on January 20, 1813, Hon. Samuel 
L. Mitchill, M. D., reported in favor of the establishment of an astro- 
nomical observatory at the city of Washington. Some time in 1815 
Mr. Lamljert revised his original calculation by another method of 
computation, assuming the ratio between the equatorial and polar 
diameters of the earth to be 320 to 319. Afterward he obtained 
observations founded on an occultation of Aldebaran, which occurred 
in January, 1793, the result being that the longitude of the Capitol 
was seventy-six degrees, forty-six minutes, and seventeen and fifty-five 
hundredths seconds, and by the observations of October 20, 1804, 
it was seventy-six degrees, fifty -four minutes, and twenty-seven and 
seventy-three hundredths seconds. From observations on an eclipse 
of the sun, September 17, 1811, the longitude was found to be seventy- 
seven degrees, five minutes, and twenty -three and seventy -seven 
hundredths seconds. From observations on the occultation of Gamma 
(;^) Tauri, which occurred January 12, 1813, the longitude was found 
to be seventy-six degrees, fifty-five minutes, and fifty-two and fifty-five 
hundredths seconds, and from the solar eclipse of August 27, 1821, it 
was seventy -six degrees, fifty -five minutes, and twenty -eight and 
sixty-five hundredths seconds. 

Collecting all these results in the form of a table, we have the 

Stated in report. As corrected. 

From occultation, January 21, 1793 ., 76° 46^ 17.85^^ 76° 46^ 17.55^' 

From occultation, October 20, 1804 76° 54' 26.97'' 76° 54' 27.73" 

From solar eclipse, September 17, 1811. ..77° 5' 23.88" 77° 5' 23.77" 

Occultation of January 12, 1813 76° 55' 52.85" 76° 55' 52.55" 

Solar eclipse, August 27, 1821 76° 55' 28.20" 76° 55' 28.65" 

Mean result 76° 55' 29.99" 76° 55' 30.05" 

The variance between the stated and corrected results was, there- 
fore, six hundredths of a second, or about five feet, nine inches of 
linear measurement. 

A joint resolution was adopted by the two Houses of Congress 
March 3, 1821, authorizing the President of the United States to cause 
to have astronomical observations made by methods which, according to 
his judgment, might be best adapted to insure a correct determination 
of the longitude of the Capitol in Washington from Greenwich, or 
from any other known meridian in Europe. Under authority of this 
resolution, on the 10th of April following he selected Mr. Lambert 

22 JI/SrOK'Y OF \\.ISI//XG70N. 

to inakr tlii' necessary ol)serviiti()n, by Imiai- ohstM'vatioiis, observations 
ot" lunar ocriiltations of lixeil stars, liy obstTvatioiis ot" solar ei-lipses, oi- 
anv other ai>prove»l nu-tliotl adapted t(» aseertain the loniritnde of the 
Caiiitol in tiie city ol' \Va>liini;ton iVoni ( ireenw idi. and rei|niriiiii' him 
to I'ctniMi the data, with ai'cnnite calculations founded thereon, to the 
Tresident to he laid hidore Conijress at its next si-ssion. Mr. I^anihert 
tlicreupon resigned the inferioi" clerkship which he then held in the 
Pension OtHce of the War l)e|>artnu'nt, on the -loth of April, moved 
to the vicinity of the Capitol, and selected Mr. William l-'JIiot, a well- 
known teacher of mathennilics in ^^''ashin^■ton, to nnd<e the transit 
and other necessary ohser\ations. The instruments reipiired were 
obtained from the (iovernment, consistinir of a transit instrument, a 
circle ot' retlectioii. an astronomical clock, and a chronometi'i'. A true 
meridian was first established by means of concentric circles on a large 
jtlatform nineteen feet west of the original line through the center of 
the Cai)itol, marked liy Andrew Ellicott in the i-arlier history of the city. 
The daily rate (jf the chronometer was ascertained with due precision. 
Some years before, Mr. Andrew Ellicott had obtained the latitude 
of Washington, to the nearest minute of a degree, to be tliii'ty-eight 
degrees and tifty-tliree minutes north. The method of obtaining the 
latitude of the Capitol by Mr. Lambert was by altitudes of the sun 
on the jiassagc of his eastern limb ovei' the meridian at the south 
wing of tlie Capitol, sixty yards from the center ol the building, and it 
was found to be thirty-eight degrees, tifty-two minutes, and foi-ty-tive 
seconds. On dune b, 7, and 8, 1S21, the longitude of the Ca})itol was 
again s(;uglit for, and found to be west from I'aris seventy-nine 
dci^rees, fifteen minutes, and twentv-seveii and twent\-four iiundredths 
seconds, from which, by deducting the longitude of Paris east tVom 
Greenwich, two degrees, twenty minutes, and e!e\eii antl fifleen hun- 
dredths seconds. iIk; longitude of \Va>irn)gtoii west from (irecnwicli 
was found to be seventy six degrees, fifty-ti\"e miiiules, and sixteen 
ami nine humlredtlis seconds. ()ii the --^\ of .lime, the longitude of 
W'a-liington was found to bi' se\-enty-six degrees, lifty-li\'e minutes, 
and nineteen and eighty-four hundredths sccomls. Xumei'ous otlu'r 
observations were made during the summer and autumn of that yeai- 
with the view of securing the greatest possible accui'acy, with a 
minimum re>ult of sexcnty-six dt'grecs, liriy-fiNe minutes, and fourteen 
and eighty-one hundretltlis >econds. and a niaxinnim i-e>ult of >e\'enty- 
.six ilcgi'Ce-. fifty-ti\-e minutes, and forly-t hree and thirty nine hundredths 
second-. The roult of all the obserxations nniy be siimnieii uj) as 


From Paris. From Greenwich. 

From observations prior to Marcli :'., 1S21..79° 15' 41.4()" 7()° 55' 30.31 " 

Transit observations 7!)° 15' 42 " 76° 55' 30.85" 

Solar eclipse of August 27, 1821 7;»° 15' 41.G0" 76° 55' 30.45" 

Mean result 79° 15' 41.6!l" 76° 55' 30.54" 

The President's House is north seventy degrees west, one and a 
half miles and lifty feet, or seven thousand nine liundred and seventy 
feet, from the center of the Capitol, and hence the longitude of the 
President's House is as follows: 

From Paris. From Greenwich. 

Longitude of the Capitol 79° 15' 41.69" 76° 55' 30.54" 

Difference of longitude 1' 34.79" 1' 34.79" 

Longitude of the President's House...79° 17' 16.48" 76° 57' 05.33" 

In concluding his report, Mr. Lambert said: "The greatest vari- 
ance in the result, allowing ninety-four thousand eight hundred and 
six yards to a degree of longitude in our latitude, was fourteen yards 
and eight inches, from which, if nineteen feet be deducted, — the 
distance of the transit from the Capitol center, — there are left seven 
yards, two feet, and eight inches. If we compare the mean result of 
all the observations with that which has been recorded in the abstracts 
of calculations heretofore furnished the two Houses of Congress, and 
allow the same deduction, the variance nearly vanishes, and does not 
amount to eleven inches of our admeasurement. If we admit the dif- 
ference in the meridians of Paris and Greenwich to be two degrees, 
twenty minutes, and fifteen seconds, as stated in Connaissance dcs Temps 
for the present year, instead of two degrees, twenty minutes, and 
eleven and fifteen hundredths seconds, applied to the results of the 
transit observations which have been made, the variance would still be 
less than the length of the Capitol; namely, one hundred and twenty 
yards. Under all the circumstances in which the foregoing result can 
be viewed, allowing a small error to have been made in ascertaining 
the reduction of longitude from a sphere to a spheroid according to the 
ratio of three hundred and twenty to three hundred and nineteen, and 
to the distance of the meridians of Paris and Wasliington, it is not 
believed that it ditiers one-fourth of a minute of longitude from the 

Mr. Lambert then added, that it was in his opinion the duty of 
Congress to establish an astronomical observatory at Washington, in 
order that the right ascension, declination, longitude, and latitude of 
the moon, planets, etc., might be ascertained with sufficient accuracy. 


und thus it wcMild \n' possible to coiniiiitc a nautical almanac ov 
astronomical I'pliemcris tor ourselves, and linn, Init not hct'ore, wc 
should 1)0 independent ot" the labors of European nun ol' science*. 

With i-i'lercncc to the accui'acy ot" the results as oljtained up t(» 
this time (IS-JI), it should bi- observed that Mr. Land»ert used, all 
the way through, the hinai' tal)les of ]>iirl,^ which contained erroi's 
sutKcient to throw the longitudi' t)l" the C\ii)itol to the eastward too 
tar by about tweiity-tive secomls of are, oi* about li\-e statute miles. 
These errors had been pointed out by Dr. IJowditch, but Mr. Landtei't 
had omitted to make the necessary coi-rection of his work. Some 
time afterwanl, a (Jerman mathematician named Wurm, bv usiui; 
Mr. Lambert's observations, ari-i\ed at the same result as that of 
lb'. Pxnvditih. Then, too, with reference to the accuracy of the 
lon<,ntude of the Capitol as determined l)y Mr. Land)ert, D. 15. Warden, 
in his " Ohorographical and Statistical Description of the District of 
Columbia," juiblished in ISli!, makes the following oljservation : 

"A celebrated astronomer, the Daron Lindenau, to whom we 
coniniiinicated this calculation, was pleased to favor us with the 
following observations concerning it: 

'"On the 20th of October, 1804, the immersion of Eta (//) Pleiades 
was observed at Washington at nine hours, twenty-two minutes, and 
thirty-six and thirty-two hundredths seconds [true time]. From this the 
calculator deduces the conjunction of the moon and star at ten hours, 
forty-two minutes, and fifty-nine and two hundred and seventy-seven 
thousandths seconds. Calculating the i>lace of the moon by tables, he 
finds this 6 or conjunction for Greenwicli at fifteen hours, five minutes, 
antl thii'ty-five and live hundi'ed and tifty-six thousandths seconds; and 
hence the western longitude of Washington e(|ual to five hours, seven 
minutes, and thirty-six and two huiulred and seventy-nine thousandths 
sec'onds. This calculation is perfectly just; nevertheless, the longitude 
which results from it remains uncertain, and may be defective by 
several minutes of the are 

'"1. The calculator supposes the right ascension of Eta (//) Ple- 
ia<les lifty-thi-ee degrees, fifty-nine minutes, and six and twenty-seven 
hundredths seconds, the declination twenty-three degrees, twenty-nine 
minutes, and forty-ti\e and fourteen hundri'dths seconds; whereas the 
catahjgue of J'ia/,/.i, generally considei'ed as the best, givi-s the right 
ascension tifty-three degrees, fifty-eight minutes, and thii'ty and 
niiic-tchths s('coii(U. and the dccHnation t went \-t liree detcrees, twent\- 
nine minutes, and thiii \ -foui' ami live-tenths seconds. 


"'2. The conjunction for Greenwich having been calculated, not 
by real observations, but by the places of the raoon, taken from the 
tables of Mason, perhaps incorrect by from ten to fifteen minutes, an 
error may result, from twenty to thirty-six minutes, in the time of 
this conjunction, and also in the longitude of Washington. Unfortu- 
nately, I have not been able to find an observation in Europe 
corresponding with this, which would have enabled me to repeat 
the calculation and establish the longitude of Washington above 

"'From the observatory of Lieberg, October 10, 1812. 

"'B. LiNDENAU.'" 

The solar eclipse of February 12, 1831, was observed at Wash- 
ington by F. R. Hassler. His observations were reduced by Robert 
T. Paine, and the diflerence of time between Greenwich and Wash- 
ington found to be five hours, eight minutes, and seven and two- 
tenths seconds. This difl:erence of time gives for the longitude of 
Washington seventy-seven degrees, one minute, and forty-eight sec- 
onds, which is six minutes and seventeen and forty-six hundredths 
seconds of longitude more than Mr. Lambert's average result. 

It was on account of the errors in Mr. Lambert's calculations 
that, in December, 1811, a memorial was presented to Congress, signed 
by Peter S. Du Ponceau and forty-three other citizens of Philadelphia, 
and a similar one signed by W. A. Duer, president of Columbia 
College, and eighteen other citizens of New York, among them 
Theodore Frelinghuysen, John W. Draper, and Charles Anthon, praying 
that measures be taken for ascertaining the precise longitude of the 
Capitol. These memorials were presented to Congress by Hon. W. W. 
Boardman, of Connecticut, May 12, 1842. 

Retracing our steps' a little, it may be said that, in 1838, Mr. R. T. 
Paine, editor of the "American Almanac," determined the position of 
the Capitol from observations upon the eclipse of the sun, which was 
nearly central there.. In coming to Washingto'j, three chronometers 
made the difterence between the meridian of the Capitol and that of 
the statehouse in Philadelphia, seven minutes and twenty-five and 
four-tenths seconds, and in returning to Philadelphia, seven minutes 
and twenty-six and five-tenths seconds. The mean of these two, 
added to the longitude of Philadelphia, five hours and thirty-nine and 
six-tenths seconds, gave for the longitude of the Capitol at Washing- 
ton, five hours, eight minutes, and five seconds. By observations upon 
the annular eclipses of 1791, 1811, 1831, and 1838, the longitude was 

26 ///STORY ()/'' \\\l.S///XGTON. 

tivi' hours, eight iniimti's, jiinl >i.\ and ti\ c-tfiilhs sccoiids. An error, 
tluTetort'. of two oi- three si-coiids in this di'lrrminution. Mi'. I'aiiic 
thouulit. \v;is :in iniprohahilitv, and tlieit' hi'ing l»iit little (h)nht that 
tlierc was an i-rror ot six miles in those niajis of this coiintiy in the 
eonstnietioii ot which the loiigitiitk' oi" the C^apitol was supjiosed to he 
livi- lioiirs, seven minutes, and forty-two seconds, t lif (juaiitity reported 
l>y ail individual' acting under the authority ot a resolution of Con- 

In the annual rejiort of the Coast Survey for IS.")!, tin- latitude of 
the Cai)itol was given as thirty-eiglit degrees, tifty-three minutes, and 
iiiiieteeii ami I'iirhty-nine hundredths seconds, and the longitude, seventy- 
.seven degrees and tiftet'ii seconds, a value derived geodetically througli 
the triangulatioii connected witli Caml)ridge, Miissuchusetts, the longi- 
tude of Cambridge being assumed as correctly ascertained, four hours, 
forty-four minutes, twenty-nine and tive-tentlis seconds. This same 
value is given in the "American Almanac" foi" lS(il. In an iiin>ortant 
paper. Mr. Sears C. Walker, assistant in the Coast Survey to the 
superintendent, gives tlie longitude of the Capitol at Washington as 
live hours, eight minutes, and eight hundred and tifty-three thousandths 
seconds, which in angular distance is seventy-seven degrees and one 
and two thousand seven hundred and niiiety-tive ten-thousandths 

When the transatlantic cables were uliii/.e(l tor the determination 
of longitude, a new value for longitude was introduc^'d. Again, in 
1880, a change was made by substituting Clarke's spheroid ' for that of 
Bessel,'' pre\'iously employed for the develoitmeiit of the triangulations. 
By these operations the oljserved ditlerences of h^ngitude between 
Candjridge, Massachusetts, and Washington, District of Cobnnbia, was 
t wenty-thi'ee minutes and forty-one and forty-one thousaiidtlis seconds, 
wliieii, added to the lonijitude of Caml;rid<ie, above iriven, ijivcs five 
hours, eight minutes, and ten and five hundred and forty-one thou- 
sandths seconds for tiie longitude of the Capitol, which, expressed in 
angular distance, '.s seventy-seven degrees, two .y.'nutes, and thirty- 
eight ami one hundred and fifteen thousandths seconds: or for the 
dome of the I'liited States Xaval (Jbservatory, as given in the I'nited 
States Coast Jieport for 1884, page 42o, five hours, eight minutes, and 

' William Lamlieit. 

= K<|iiatorial radius, <v;7s,"_'in., I nn'tcrs, fi|iial L'O.'.iL'ii.otiJ tVct ; I'iiImi railiiis. (i,."..")(v")():;.S 
iiifters, eipial ■_'(»,S.'")."),il.'l feet. 

' K<|uatoiial ia<liiis, ti,:;77,:;'.i7. 1"> lucttTs, ciiual L'U,;ii.';;, M)4.iil iVet ; I'olar radius, 
t;,;;.Vi,07'.Ml luclcrs, »'(|ual •Jii,s."):',,4i>L'.'.M iVft. 






•> ' 



O ' 












twelve and thirty -eisjht tliousandths seconds, equal in degrees to 
seventy-seven degrees, three minutes, and tifty-seven seconds. 

•' The following table contains the positions of some prominent 
objects in the District, according to the latest geodetic data of the 

" United States Capitol, head of the Statue 

of Liberty 38° 53' 23.25" 

Old uionumeDt, supposed meridian stone ^38° 54' 44.45" 
Washington Monument, apex of obelisk. ..38° 53' 22.02" 
District of Columbia south corner stone, 

Jones's Point 38° 47' 25.15" 

District of Columbia north corner stone. .38° 59' 45.38" 
District of Columbia east corner stone.... 38° 53' 34.23" 
District of Columbia west corner stone.. 38° 53' 35.60" 
United States Naval Observatory, center 

of small dome, main building 38° 53' 42.27" 77° 3' <i.l0" 

"From these positions it will be seen that the boundary lines of 
the District are somewhat longer than ten statute miles; also, that 
the southwest line (and its parallel) is somewhat longer than the 
southeast line (and its parallel), which inequalities throw the north 
corner slightly to the west of the south corner, and the west corner 
slightly more north than the east corner."^ 

In connection with this valuable information furnished by the 
gentlemen named, through the kindness of Dr. T. C. Mendenhall 

1 This is "Ellicott's Azimuth Mark," or what is otherwise somietimes called the 
"North Meridian Stone." It is located, according to ]Mr. C. H. Sinclair, assistant in the 
United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, "to the west of the prolongation of North 
Capitol Street, just beyond Boundary Street, and near the beginning of Lincoln Avenue. 
The monument consists of six blocks of sandstone placed on top of each other; the two 
bottom stones are twenty-eight by twenty-eight inches, and extend to the height of 
forty inches. The next stone has a base of twenty-four by twenty-four inches, and 
tai)ers, as do all the others, to the top of the monument. The monument is fifteen 
and five-tenths feet above the ground. In the top stone, south face, are three vertical 
lines about one-half an inch deep and one-half an inch wide, the center one terminated 
by a horizontal line. Near the top of the fifth stone is a horizontal line, cut deeply like 
the others. This bench mark (?) is on the south face of the bottom stone. The stone 
next to the bottom has a similar piece of iron on the east face, about four inches below 
its top ( or three feet above the ground ). The monument leans slightly to the north. 

"While in Salt Lake City in July, 1890, I met Major Wilkes, son of Admiral 
Wilkes, who told me that this stone was placed by his father in the meridian of the 
transit of the old observatory that stood on the north side of Capitol Hill." The date 
of this monument is about 1838. 

2 From a letter to the writer by Assistant Charles A. Schott, in charge of Com- 
puting Division, Coast and Geodetic Survey. 


Superintendent of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, it 
may not be without both interest and value to note briefly a few facts 
about other original landmarks, established by tlie early surveys of the 
District of Columbia. In another chapter may be founil an account 
of the setting of the corner stone of the District, at Jones's Point. 
The initial stone, at this point, was about two feet high and one 
foot square. It stood isolated until the United States built the wall 
enclosing the liglithouse, and it now forms |»art of this wall on the 
south. From this initial stone the meridional center line of the 
District was located by Andrew EUicott. This meridian center line 
extended through the President's House, north along the center of 
Sixteenth Street, and thence over Peter's Hill, afterward called Merid- 
ian Hill, to the intersection of the diagonal lines at the north point 
of the District of Columbia, about one mile due west from Silver 
Springs, Maryland. Upon this line, about eighty yards south of the 
present unsightly and unutilized standpipe, near the brow of the hill. 
Commodore David Porter had a mansion, the entrance door of which 
was due north of the center door of the President's House. The farm 
upon which this mansion stood, was long known as the " Meridian 
Hill Farm." On the edge of the south lawn, in close proximity to the 
mansion, was placed the "Meridian Stone." This meridian stone was 
nearly two feet across and two feet high. The north edge of it 
was circular, and upon it was afterw^ard placed a brass sundial. From 
this stone "Meridian Hill" received its name, and hence "Meridian 
Hill Farm." This stone remained in its original position until about 
the time of the opening of Sixteenth Street extended, when it was 
removed to its present place, at the southwest corner of Fourteenth 
and R streets, where it is used as a carriage step. 

The line crossing this meridian line at a right angle near the 
Washington Monument, extends west across the Potomac, passes near 
old Fort Corcoran, and on to the intersection of the diagonals at the 
west corner of the District of Columbia, near the village of Falls Church, 
in Virginia. Eastward, it extends through the rotunda of the Capitol, 
and on to the intersection of the diagonals at the east point of the 
District, about three miles east of Bennings Bridge. 

At the crossing of these lines, near the Washington Monument, 
should be found the precise center of the District, and at this 
intersection was placed, in 1792, a stone to mark the center of the 
District. It was called the Jefferson Stone, or Center Stone. Its 
precise position is not now visible, but it was about one hundred and 
tifty yards northwest from the present Washington Monument, on the 


bank of the old Tiber Creek. It had a blue rock foundation, wliicli 
was six feet high on the creek side. It was covered by a huge sand- 
stone cap, about live feet square and eight inches thick. This cap 
stone and part of the foundation were removed in 1872, by order of 
General Babcock, the Commissioner of Public Buildings and Grounds, 
through a mistake as to its identity, and what remained was covered 
up by earth several feet deep when the roadway was made. It is on 
the east side of the road, between the lakes and the intersection of 
Virginia Avenue. 

There is still one other stone a remembrance of the location of 
which sliould be preserved. This was called the " Capitol Stone," and 
stood a little south of the Washington Monument, and about eighty- 
five yards to the west. This was a rough-hewn freestone, projecting 
about three feet above the surrounding earth, and one foot in diameter 
on the earth line and eight inches across on the top. Tlie distance 
between this and the Center Stone corresponded with half the length 
of the old part of the Capitol building. These three objects, therefore, 
the Monument, the Center Stone, and the Capitol Stone, would, if all 
were visible, mark a triangle, two sides of which would be of the 
lengths given above, and the other perhaps about one hundred and 
seven yards. But for all practical purposes the Washington Monument 
may be considered the center of the District of Columbia. 

The longitude and latitude of a place, especially the latitude, have 
much to do with its climate. And it may be naturally inferred from 
the low latitude of Washington, when coupled with its slight elevation 
above the level of the sea, that its climate in the summer time is very 
warm. Actual observation and experience prove the correctness of the 
inference. The winters, too, are found to be much milder than those 
of more northern cities, and even milder than some winters in earlier 
times. In January, 1772, the snow, in what is now the District of Col- 
umbia, was nearly three feet deep on the level, and in places it drifted 
to from ten to twelve feet in depth. In 1780, according to Mr. Jefter- 
son, the Chesapeake Bay was frozen solid from its head to the mouth 
of the Potomac, and at Annapolis, where it is five and a fourth miles 
between the nearest points of land, the ice was from five to seven 
inches thick, so that loaded carriages went across. But in later years, 
as the country became more thickly settled, cleared, and better cultivated, 
the climate of winter became much milder. But mollification of the 
climate by the clearing away of the forests and better draining of 
the land is not unique in the United States. In the times of Jnlius 
C?esar neither the olive nor the vine was grown upon the Rhine. 



Now, with rare exceptions, one of these exceptions being the winter of 
1890-91, wliich Avas a most remarkable winter in Europe, the winters 
of France are both miUl and pleasant. The improvement in the 
climate of Rome, the mountains near wiiich city were, in the clays of 
Horace, covered with snow, and the great change in the climate 
of Germany from settlement, clearing away of the forests, drainage 
and cultivation of the land, and the great changes in our own West- 
ern States, all tend to show the natural results of civilized man's 
occupation upon the land which he inhabits. Heretofore, and now, the 
vicissitudes of temperature are often distressing, mainly, perhaps, 
because of the suddenness of the changes which occur. However, even 
if there should be a gradual and steady mollification of the weather, 
extremely cold winters and hot summers will occasionally come. In 
the United States, the winter of 1855-56 was like that of 1890-91 in 
France, excessively severe. 

The following table shows the temperature of the city of Wash- 
ington for each month of the five years, 1823, 1824, 1825, 1828, and 
1829, the data for the first three years being extracted from The 
Washington Gazette, published by S. A. Elliott in 1826, and those of 
tlie other two years from other sources: 






























May ......... 








































The following table shows the baroinetrie elevations for the years 
1828 and 1829: 


























29 93 

















With reference to the healthfnlness of the climate, early writers 
have made numerous comments. Warden, in his "District of 
Cohirabia," elsewhere quoted from, in connection with his remarks on 
the longitude of the city, says, "It is scarcely possible to imagine a 
situation more beautiful, healthy, and convenient than that of Wash- 
ington." In another place he says: "It is a prevailing opinion 
throuo'hout the United* States that the climate of the District of 
Washington is unhealthy; but the opinion is formed on prejudice, for 
it is certain that in no season is it visited by habitual or endemic 
diseases. The best proof of the salubrity of the place is the longevity 
of its inhabitants; and we recollect to have seen sev^eral natives, always 
residents of this District, whose features and general appearance in- 
dicate a very advanced age. Mr. Blodgett has, we know not from 
what data, estimated tlie annual deaths in Washington City at one to 
48 to 50 persons; in New York, at one to 44 to 50; at Baltimore, at 
one to 43 to 49; at Charleston, at one to 35 to 40; from which it 
results that of all these places Washington is the healthiest. And 
in this respect it has evidently an advantage over the great cities of 


Europe, where the annual deaths are one to 23, and in towns as one 
to 28. . . . It may be remarked that during autumn bilious fever some- 
times prevails; but at this season it is common to other parts of the 
United States." 

In the "History of the Ten Miles Square," published in 1830, by 
Jonathan Elliott, the following table of deaths for the ten years 
preceding was given: In 1820, 327; 1821, 335; 1822, 296; 1823, 356; 
1824, 290; 1825, 225; 1826, 283; 1827, 252; 1828, 254; 1829, 304; which 
was an average of one death to every 53 of the inhabitants, or, as the 
ratio would now be stated, of 19 to each 1,000, which, if it were 
intended to include the black race, was a very low ratio indeed. Furtlier 
remarks will be made about the health of the city in another chapter. 

The Potomac River forms the greater part of the boundary line 
between Maryland and Virginia. It rises near the Back Bone Moun- 
tain, and in its descent to the Chesapeake Bay, passes the District 
of Columbia about three hundred miles from the Atlantic Ocean. 
Tide water in the Potomac reaches a point about three miles above 
Washington, the rise and fall of the water in the river being about 
four feet. In its course from its source to the sea it receives the 
waters of several minor streams on either side, the largest of these 
being the Shenandoah River, which rises in Augusta County, Virginia, 
two hundred and fifty miles above its junction with the Potomac at 
Harper's Ferry, where the latter passes through the Blue Ridge. 

In this connection, although perhaps not strictly within the scope 
of this volume, it may not be amiss to introduce Mr. Jefferson's descrip- 
tion of the conlluence of these two streams, in which description may 
be clearly seen the play of his imagination. "The passage of the 
Patowmac through the Blue Ridge is, perhaps, one of the most stupen- 
dous scenes in nature. You stand on a very high point of land. On 
your right, conies up the Shenandoah, having ranged along the foot of 
the mountains an hundred miles, to seek a vent. On your left, ap- 
proaches the Patowmac in quest of a passage also. In the moment 
of their junction they rush together against the mountain, rend it 
asunder and pass off' to the east. The first glance of this scene hur- 
ries our senses into the opinion that this earth has been created in 
time, that the mountains were formed first, that the rivers began to 
flow afterward, that in this place particularly they have been damned 
up by the Blue Ridge of mountains, and have formed an ocean which 
filled the whole valley; that continuing to rise, they at length broke 
over at this spot, and have torn the mountain down from its summit 
to its base. The piles of rock on each hand, but particularly on the 


Shenandoah, the evident marks of their disrupture and avulsion from 
their beds by the most powerful agents of nature, corroborate the 
impression. But the distant finishing which nature has given to the 
picture is of a very different character. It is as placid and delightful 
as that is wild and tremendous. For the mountain being cloven asun- 
der, she presents to your eye, through the cleft, a small catch of 
smooth blue horizon at an infinite distance in the plain country, invit- 
ing you, as it were, from the riot and tumult roaring around, to pass 
through the gulf and participate in the calm below. Here the eye 
ultimately composes itself, and then away to the road happens actually 
to lead. You cross the Patowniac above the junction, pass along its 
side through the base of the mountain for three miles, its terrible 
precipices hanging in fragments over you, and within about twenty 
miles reach Fredericktown and the fine country around that place. 
This scene is worthy of a voyage across the Atlantic. Yet here, as 
in the neighborhood of the Natural Bridge, are people who have passed 
their lives within half a dozen miles, and have never been to survey 
these monuments of a war between rivers and mountains, which must 
have shaken the earth itself to its center." 

Volney, the celebrated traveler, visited Harper's Ferry in 1796, and 
wrote a description of this same chasm. Volney was much more of a 
scientist than was Mr. Jefterson, and his description has much more 
interest from a geological standpoint, but we must content ourselves 
with referring the reader to Volney himself. 

Forty-seven miles below Harper's Ferry are the Great Falls of the 
Potomac, where the river breaks through a granite ridge which stretches 
across its pathway. Here the river gradually narrows itself, until it 
approaches the shute, to about one hundred j^ards in width, when the 
entire mass of water is precipitated over a fall of about forty feet in 
height. It then sweeps 'along with great velocity for three or four 
miles, when it subsides into a gentle, placid stream. About ten miles 
below the Great Falls are the Little Falls, which are, in fact, but 
rapids. Their descent is about twenty feet, and below the falls is a 
bridge across the river. From this point to Georgetown is two and a 
half miles, the fall of the river in this distance being about thirty- 
seven feet. 

The Eastern Branch, or Anacostia, is the main branch of the 
Potomac River, and enters the latter at Greenleaf's Point. This stream 
was formerly navigable for good-sized vessels to the once flourishing 
town of Bladensburg. In later years, the navigation of the river has 
been impeded by the washings from the adjacent soil and sand banks, 


and vessels now ascend it only a short distance above the Navy Yard. 
Tiber Creek, which in ancient times wound through the heart of the 
city, entered the Potomac near where stood tlie Van Ness mansion, 
and was navigable for boats carrying lumber and firewood to the 
Central Market, and thence by the canal to the Eastern Branch. 

Fifty miles above Washington, the Monocacy, which is navigable 
for about thirty miles, enters the Potomac. Conogocheague and 
Patterson creeks enter the Potomac about forty miles above Washing- 
ton; Opequon Creek, about twenty-five miles above; Cape Copeon 
Creek, about twenty miles above; and Rock Creek, between Washing- 
ton and Georgetown. 

Jefferson, in his notes on Virginia, gives the breadth and depth 
of the Potomac at difl'erent points as follows: At its mouth, the 
breadth is seven and a half miles; at Nomony Bay, four and a half 
miles; at Acquia, three miles; at Hallooing Point, one and a half miles: 
and at Alexandria, one and a fourth miles. At the mouth, he gives 
the depth at seven fathoms; at St. George's Island, five fathoms; at 
Lower Matchodie, four and a half fathoms; at Swan's Point and 
at Alexandria, three fathoms; thence to the falls, — thirteen miles 
above,— ten feet. 

Bancroft, in his account of Captain John Smith's exploration of 
the Potomac, says: "The Patapsco was discovered and explored, and 
Smith probably entered the harbor at Baltimore. The majestic 
Potomac, which at its mouth is seven miles wide, especially invited 
curiosity; and passing beyond the heights of Vernon and the city of 
Washington, he ascended to the falls above Georgetown. Nor did he 
merely explore the river and inlets. He penetrated the territories, 
established friendly relations with the native tribes, and laid the 
foundations for future beneficent intercourse. The map which he 
prepared and sent to the company in London is still extant, and 
delineates correctly the great outlines of nature. The expedition was 
worthy the romantic ages of American History." General Washing- 
ton's first exploration of the Potomac will be narrated in another 

It will be seen, therefore, that the Potomac is navigable for vessels 
of a large size, and would be utilized for that purpose to a greater 
extent than it is, were Washington, like New York, Philadelphia, and 
Baltimore, a commercial city. As it is, the river has always been used, 
for the most part, by different kinds of passenger steamboats, plying 
between this city and the various other cities on the Chesapeake and 
on the rivers running into it. Further mention of the river steamboats 



will be made in the chapter devoted to the transportation facilities 
of this region. 

The shad, herring, and other fisheries of the Potomac and its 
tributaries were, in former days, of greater value than at present, 
though they are by no means valueless now. It was recognized very 
early in the history of both Virginia and Maryland that laws were 
necessary to protect the fish in the streams, and hence, in 1768, an act 
was passed by the Legislature of Maryland prohibiting the destruction 
of young fish by weirs or dams, the penalt}^ for a violation of this law 
being £20. This law became a permanent one in 1798. In 1796, an 
act was passed to [jrevcnt persons from visiting the Patuxeiit River 
with cords or poles from the commencement of February to the 
beginning of June, the penalty being £100 for a white person, and, if a 
slave, it was ten lashes on the bare back, unless the slave were redeemed 
by his master's payment of £10. 

In the early days, many thousands of fish were taken each season, 
and sometimes extremely large hauls were made. This season usually 
lasted from five to seven weeks, beginning about the last of March 
and ending early in May. Early writers on this subject say that a 
million barrels of herring was not too high an estimate for the 
number of that kind of fish taken in a season. Also, with reference 
to the flavor of the fish taken in the Potomac, these same writers say 
that next to the small and delicate Nova Scotia herring, the herring 
of the Potomac was by far more nutritious than any others in the 
waters of the United States. The shad, rockfish, and sturgeon, accord- 
ing to epicures, also had a flavor superior to any others in the Union. 
In 1830, when Jonathan Elliott wrote the "Ten Miles Square," fine 
shad were worth $5 per hundred; Falls shad, $12 per hundred; her- 
ring, $1 per thousand; rockfish, from $3 to $4 per thousand; and 
sturgeon, 3 cents per pound. The weight of each kind of fish found 
in the Potomac River was given by him as follows: 

Sturgeon, 40 to 120 pounds; rockfish, 1 to 75 pounds; shad — Cliiina 

alosa, 6 pounds; white, ; tailor, 3 pounds; gar, 6 pounds; eel — 

fresh water, 3 pounds; common, IJ pounds; carp, 3 pounds; herring, 2 
pounds; pike, 2 pounds; perch — white, 1 pound; yellow, 1 pound; 
mullet — fine scaled, 1 pound; coarse scaled, | pound; smelt, . 

About thirty miles below Washington was located the noted 
fishery of General Mason, called Sycamore Landing. At this fishery^ in 
perhaps the year 1825, at one draught of the seine, four hundred and 
fifty rockfish were taken, the average weight of each fish being sixty 
pounds,. It was then, and is now, of course, a habit of many species 


of tish to annually ascend the Potomac and other Atlantic rivers to 
fresh water, to deposit their eggs, thus providing at the same time for 
the continuation of their species and an abundant supply of nutritious 
food for man. The principal kinds of these migratory fish thus 
ascending the Potomac and other rivers were, and are, the shad, her- 
ring, and sturgeon, the first two kinds ascending the rivers to fresh 
water annually, and the latter kind making two visits, one in May and 
the other in August. The sturgeon, in early days, was taken in great 
quantities between Georgetown and the Little Falls. He is sometimes 
of very large size, weighing from seveuty-five to one hui.dred and fifty 
pounds. One remarkable fact about this fish, according to the early 
writers, was that while it was considered a great delicacy in the James, 
the Potomac, and the Hudson, yet in the Delaware it was considered 
of but little value, and was scarcely eaten. The sturgeon was caught 
with floating nets with large meshes, or with an ingeniously contrived 
hook, not provided with bait for the fish to swallow, but by a curious 
device prepared in such a way as to pierce him in the body so deeply 
as to surely hold him and bring him in. This method of fishing for 
sturgeon was at one time peculiar to the Potomac fisheries. 

The great fisheries for herring, in earlier times, were situated 
between the city of Washington and the mouth of Acquia Creek, fifty 
miles below^ the city. The principal fisheries for shad were confined 
to yet stricter limits — between the mouth of the Occoquan River on 
the right bank of the Potomac and the shores just above Fort Wash- 
ington on the left bank of the river; that is, say, from fifteen to 
thirty -five miles below Washington. Mau}^ herring, it is true, are 
caught both above and below these limits, but not nearly so many as 
within them. Some of the finest shad are caught in drop nets, — two 
or three at a time, — at the foot of Little Falls, which, on account of 
its remarkable agility, this fish sometimes contrives to ascend, the fall 
of the water here being only about thirty feet in three miles, and the 
fish, having surmounted the falls, are then found up to the Great Falls. 

Herring, how^ever, do not get above the Little Falls. Of this kind 
of fish from one hundred to three hundred thousand were often taken at 
a single haul of the seine, and of shad, according to later writers, from 
ten thousand to fifteen thousand were occasionally drawn at a time. 
The seines, however, were very large, being from six hundred to twelve 
hundred yards long, and were hauled in by means of long, stout ropes 
and capstans fixed on shore. The seines used at the best shad land- 
ings were constructed of such large meshes that the herring escaped, 
thus saving time and expense by separating the two kinds of fish. 


Herring are not generally eaten when fresh, but when cured they 
keep remarkably well, and are most highly flavored when two years 
in salt. While the Potomac River can boast of the largest and best 
shad fisheries in the country, the herring fishing is participated in by 
other Southern rivers, and there is an equal amount of herring taken 
in the Susquehanna River. 

Referring to statements found in older writers about the shad and 
herring fisheries of the Potomac, the publications of the Fish Com- 
mission of the Government, which are prepared by experts, say that 
this river has always been celebrated for the excellency and value of 
its shad and herring fisheries. Reports of their magnitude have 
come down to us from early days, and from them, we must gather 
that the productions then, as compared with our own day, have been 
simply fabulous. The fisheries of this river annually decreased in 
value and production up to the time of the War. The intermission 
which then ensued in fishing operations, on account of those of a 
martial character, allowed the fisheries to recuperate, so that, in the 
years immediately subsequent to the War, it was found that they had, 
in a measure, recovered from their former depletion. In 1878, the 
minimum of production was attained, during which season less than 
two hundred thou^iand shad were taken in the entire river. In 
1879, the result of artificial propagation first manifested itself, and 
there w^as a considerable increase in the run of shad, from which time 
up to 1880 there were taken nearly six hundred thousand shad. 

The early fisheries on the Potomac were prosecuted almost entirely 
by means of haul nets, but in 1835 gill nets were introduced from the 
North, which steadily grew in favor, and up to about 1875 were almost 
exclusively employed. In this latter year, pound nets were introduced, 
and these rapidly superseded the gill nets, as the gill nets had previously 
superseded the haul nets or seines. 

According to the Government report above referred to, the Potomac 
fisheries, in 1880, employed 1,208 men; 230 boats, valued at $30,750, 
and having an aggregate of apparatus and fishing houses worth 
$209,550. The products of these fisheries that year were as follows: 
Shad, 2,040,052 pounds, worth $60,201; herring, 6,291,252 pounds, worth 
$62,912; sturgeon, 288,000 pounds, worth $2,880; miscellaneous, 1,317,- 
030 pounds, worth $39,510. 

In 1886, Gwynn Harris made a report of the shad and herring 
fisheries of the Potomac as follows: Number of shad landed at Wash- 
ington from March 19, 1886, to June 10, 1886, 180,175; number at 
Alexandria, Virginia, 34,847; number shipped by steamer Siue to Bal- 


timore, 48,000; number shipped by steamer W. W. Corcoran, 5,600; sold 
on the different shores, 6,800; total [number of shad taken, 275,422. 
The number of herring landed at Washington was 7,315,473; the 
number landed at Alexandria was 3,979,324; the number shipped by 
steamer Sue to Baltimore was 850,000; the number sold on the difter- 
ent shores and at the trap nets was 1,400,000; total number of herring 
taken, 13,544,797. 

About June 10, 1885, an Atlantic salmon was caught in the Poto- 
mac River, which was probably the iirst that was ever seen in the river. 

According to the report of Colonel Marshal McDonald, Commis- 
sioner of Fish and Fisheries, there were planted in the Potomac 
River from November 4, 1885, to January 5, 1886, 5,500 German 
carp. The number of shad planted in the same river for 1886 was 
1,282,000. The number of vessels employed in the Potomac lisheries 
from March 31, to May 31, 1886, was 31, with 78 men, and an aggre- 
gate tonnage of 457.7. The number of shad sold at Alexandria during 
the season of 1886 was 34,847, and the number of herring, 3,979,324. 

The crawfish of the Potomac are in great abundance, in front of 
and below the city of Washington, but they are not taken to supply 
the markets of the city, as they lind no ready sale. The business, in 
1880, was entirely in the hands of a few parties who lished during a 
short period in the spring, and sent nearly all their catch to New 
York, where they brought about |2 per hundred, whereas in previous 
years they had sold as high as from $4 to $6 per hundred. 

Oysters from the Potomac are troublesome, because they are mixed 
with numerous obnoxious mussels, and in addition to this they do not 
grow well in this river. During the spring of 1879, Captain Samuel 
M. Travers, of the oyster police force, directed his deputy commanders 
to board all vessels loading plants for Northern markets, and obtain 
the number of bushels taken. Through them he found that the total 
number of bushels was 2,178,750, of which 625,000 bushels were from 
the Potomac River and its tributaries. 

The Potomac tisheries are prosecuted by citizens of Maryland, 
Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The average number of men 
employed in recent years has been about 3,700; the capital invested, 
about $270,000, while the product reaches an average yield of more 
than half a million dollars. The fish trade of the District of Colum- 
bia during the four years ending in 1890, averaged nearly 6,000,000 
pounds of fish, received from the river and bay, besides oysters, 
crabs, e-lams, and turtles. In 1890, it amounted to 6,393,974 pounds 
of fish, 6,182,700 clams in number, 779,300 crabs, 376,875 bushels of 



oysters, and 107 turtles. The shad and herring are the most impor- 
tant of the iish brought to tliis market. 

The nature of the Potomac fisheries has greatly changed within 
the past twenty years. So long ago as the beginning of this period, 
the catch of shad and herring by haul seines was not made at the 
spawning grounds of the lisli, the entire run of both kinds reaching 
their spawning grounds in the river. Under these conditions, fishing 
in the river was prosperous. With the introduction of the pound net, 
the site of the fisheries was transferred to the Chcsaiieake Bay, the 
capture of shad beginning at the capes, all the shad reaching the river 
having to run the gauntlet of the pound nets, which are set all the 
way up the river, from its mouth to the District of Columbia, across 
their path. The result is that eighty per cent of all the shad are taken 
outside of the rivers and in the Chesapeake, or in the river's lower 
estuaries. Under these conditions, it will readily be seen that a decline in 
the river fisheries has been unavoidable, and the opportunities afforded 
for natural production are entirely inadequate to keep up the supply. 
The fisheries are now under conditions mainly artificial, and their main- 
tenance to this extent is dependent upon artificial propagation. 

In connection with artificial propagation, it must be borne in mind 
that fish planted in the Potomac remain therein a few months and 
then descend to salt water, and only a small porportion of those which 
survive and mature can run the gauntlet of the pound nets and find 
their way back into the river. The effect of artificial propagation 
upon the fisheries of the Potomac cannot, therefore, be properly meas- 
ured or estimated by the actual production of the fisheries of this river 
from year to year, for the reason that the larger proportion of the 
fish which would enter the Potomac, and be taken by the seines and 
gill nets in the river, are captured in the bay and at the mouth of the 
river by the pound nets. Hence it is, that to get a fair estimate of 
the results of artificial propagation, the Chesapeake basin must be 
dealt with as a whole. 

The following table shows the production of the shad fisheries of 
the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries for the years given: 


No. OF Fish. 

Value of Fish. 


No. OF Fish. 

Vall-e of Fi.sii. 









The following is a statement of the deposits of shad fry in the 
Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries by the United States Fish Com- 
mission, from 1880 to 1891, both years inclusive: 





























The following numbers of shad were confined in the carp grounds 
until they were seven months old, and then released into the Potomac 
River: In 1888, 750,000; in 1890, 1,750,000; in 1891, 800,000; total 
number, 3,300,000.' 

The various geologic formations east of the Appalachian Moun- 
tains are thus classified in a rare and valuable pamphlet prepared by 
Professor W. J. McGee for the " International Congress of Geologists," 
which convened in Washington in 1891. Of the Pleistocene period, 
there are two formations, the alluvium and the Columbia, the latter 
being from 5 to 40 feet; of the Neocene period, there are two forma- 
tions, the Lafayette, from 5 to 50 feet thick, and the Chesapeake, from 
10 to 125 feet thick; of the Eocene period, there is but one formation, 
the Pamunkey, which is from 3 to 100 feet thick. These all belong 
to Cenozoic time, or to the Mammalian age, and the Neocene and 
Eocene belong to the Tertiary period. Below these is the Cretaceous 
period, to which belong the Severn and the Potomac formations, the 
former being from 2 to 25 feet thick, and the latter from 5 to 500 
feet. The Cretaceous period belongs to the Reptilian age, or Mesozoic 
time, as also do the Jurassic and Triassic periods. But it is doubtful 
whether any portion of even the Jurassic period is exposed in this 
section of the country. Still beneath the Mesozoic are the Paleozoic 
and Azoic times; the former comprising the Reptilian, Devonian, and 
Silurian ages; from which it appears that the exposures of the earth's 
crust in the vicinity of Washington consist of a very meager portion 
of geologic formations, and represent a very brief period of geologic 

Statistics kindly supplied by Colonel M. McDonald, United States Fish Comniis- 


Pursuing the description of these formations from the Potomac 
upward, the Severn "consists of fine blacl^, micaceous and carbonaceous 
sands, sometimes ghiuconite, and rather poorly fossiliferous." South- 
ward from the city, this formation gradually becomes thinner, and finally 
fails altogether; northward, it increases in thickness and expands. 

The Pamunkey formation consists of a homogeneous sheet of sand 
and clay, with occasional calcareous la3^ers. It commonly abounds 
in cliaracteristic Eocene fossils. It lies in a o:entle anticlinal, the srreat 
body inclining toward the sea. 

The Chesapeake formation is separated from the Pamunkey below 
and from the Lafayette above, by strong unconformities. It consists 
of a heavy bed of fine sand and clay, sometimes containing more or 
less abundant glauconite and infusorial remains and characteristic 
Miocene fossils. This formation extends eastward to the ocean, and 
northward and southward for perhaps hundreds of miles. 

The Lafayette formation consists of well-rounded, quartzite gravel, 
and a red or orange-tinted loam. The gravel predominates in the 
northwestern exposures, and the loam toward the interior of the Coastal 
plain. The pebbles are derived from the earlier members of the 
elastics, and the loam from the residua of the Piedmont crystallines. 
The deposits of the Lafayette formation may be distinguished from 
those of the younger Columbia by having finer pebbles, more completely 
water-worn, and more largely quartzite; and they may be discriminated 
from the older Potomac deposits by the smaller size and better round- 
ing of the pebbles, by the dearth of arkose, etc. Despite its local 
diversity, it is remarkably uniform throughout the two hundred thou- 
sand square miles over which it has been recognized; "indeed, though 
the youngest member of the clastic series, this formation is at the 
same time more extensive and more constant in aspect than any other 
American formation." 

"The Lafayette formation overlaps unconformably all the older 
members of the Coastal plain series in such a manner as to indicate 
that all were extensively degraded anterior to its deposition; yet the 
floor on which the formation rests is more uniform than its own upper 
surface, indicating that, while the antecedent erosion period was long, 
the land stood low, so that it was planed nearly to base level, and 
seldom deeply trenched. During the Post-Lafayette elevation, on the 
contrary, the land was deeply trenched and not planed, indicating a 
higher altitude than during the earlier one, but a shorter period of 
stream work. This record, within the Coastal plain proper, coincides 
with a geomorphic record found in the Peidmont and Appalachian 


zones. Throughout these zones the major and most of the minor 
rivers How in broad and deep yet steep-sided gorges, excavated in a 
base-level plain. The Potomac gorge belonging to this category ex- 
tends from Washington well toward the* sources of the river. It is 
within this gorge that the newer Washington Great Falls Canon is 
excavated. The same ancient gorge is admirably displayed at Great 
Fa.lls, and again at the continence of the Shenandoah, at Harper's 
Ferry. Moreover, the ancient gorges of this category are best devel- 
oped in the northern part of the Middle Atlantic, where the Lafayette 
formation is most extensively degraded. Now, by the concordance of 
history thus recorded in plain and plateau, the degradation epochs of 
the adjacent provinces may be correlated, and the ancient gorges of the 
Piedmont plateau and of the Appalachian zone as well may be referred 
to the period of high level immediately following deposition. While 
the positive evidence for this correlation is hardly conclusive, the neg- 
ative evidence is more decisive: the Coastal plain deposits yield no 
other record of continent movement of sufficient amplitude and extent 
to account for this wide-spread topographic feature." 

The Columbia formation consists of brown loam or brick clay, 
grading downward into a bed of gravel or bowlders. Toward the 
mouths of the large rivers the loam generally becomes thinner, and 
the bowlder bed thicker, and in the several parts of the formation its 
constituents vary greatly in quantity. As a general thing, the deposit 
represents littoral and estuarine deposition. The materials differ from 
those of the alluvium in the greater size of the bowlders, in greater 
coarseness of sediments in general, and in the less complete trituration 
and lixiviation of the elements. These differences indicate long, cold 
winters, with, of course, heavy snow fall and thick ice, but do not 
indicate glaciation during this period. 

"Traced northward, the formation is found to pass under the 
terminal moraine and the drift-sheet it fringes; at the same time, the 
size of the bowlders and other indications of contemporaneous cold 
multiply, and an element of ice-ground rock tlour occurs in the upper 
member, from which it was long inferred to represent an early episode 
of glaciation, and during the present summer Salisbury has found it 
to pass into a premorainal drift-sheet in Northern New Jersey. From 
the relative extent of erosion and degree of oxidation, the Columbia 
formation and the corresponding drift-sheet are inferred to be five to 
fifty times as old as the later glacial deposit, and a rude but useful 
measure of the duration of the Pleistocene is thus obtained." 

The Middle Atlantic slope is to a great extent destitute of alluvium. 


What is called the "fall Hue" is the common boundary of two strongly 
distinguished })rovinces. To the west of this "fall line," the land is 
rising so rapidly that the rivers are unable to cut their channels down 
to base level; while to the eastward of it, the land is sinking so rapidly 
that deposition does not keep pace with the sinking. 

"Anterior to the vaguely limited period which may be assigned 
to alluvium deposition, the land stood higher than now, for the ante- 
cedent formations are deeply trenched by the Potomac, the Anacostia, 
and other Coastal plain rivers; but whether it was the entire region, or 
oidy the now sinking Coastal plain that formerly stood higher, is not 
certainly known. It seems probable, however, that both Peidmont and 
Coastal provinces were elevated after Columbia deposition; that both 
were subsequently depressed to some extent, and that, while the down- 
ward movement of the Coastal plain continues, the movement of the 
Piedmont plateau was long since reversed." 

The following extract from the "Guide to Washington and its 
Scientilic Institutions," shows the latest estimates as to the length of 
time which has elapsed since the Potomac formation, and also since 
the Carboniferous era: 

"This Sub-Potomac unconformity gives some indication of the 
relative position of the Potomac formation in the Mesozoic period, as 
well as of the relative duration of the several Coastal plain periods 
of deposition and degradation. Let Post-Columbia erosion represent 
unity; then Post-Lafayette degradation may be represented by 1,000, 
and the Post-Potomac and Pre-Lafayette base-level period may be 
represented by 100,000; then, using the same scale, the Post-Newark 
and Pre-Potoraac erosion must be measured by something like 10,- 
000,000, and the Post-Carboniferous and Pre-Newark degradation by 
20,000,000 or 50,000,000. These figures are but rude approximations; 
they are, moreover, in oub sense, misleading, since degradation undoubt- 
edly proceeded much more rapidly during the earlier eons, yet they 
give some conception of the relative importance of a long series of 
episodes in continent growth, and indicate definitely the wide sepa- 
ration of the Newark and Potomac periods." 

The following extract from Mr. McGee's article, already quoted 
from, clearly shows the chronological relation borne by prehistoric to 
historic times: 

"In the later geology of the Middle Atlantic slope, three episodes 
stand out so strongly as to overshadow all others. The first is that 
represented by the Potomac formation; the second is that of the first 
ice invasion and the deposition of the Columbia formation; the third 


is the shorter ice invasion, during which the earliest known relics of 
men were entombed in aqueo-glacial deposits; and then follows the 
present, by which these episodes of the past are interpreted and meas- 
ured. In the archseology of the Potomac Valley, there are three salient 
and distinct stages, the first nearly coinciding in time with the last 
geologic episode. The first stage is that of the origin and develop- 
ment of the unknown ancestor of the race; the second stage is that of 
the human prototype, who manufactured and used rude implements in 
an unknown way and for unknown purposes; the third stage is that 
of the dominance of savage races, whose homes, habits, and imple- 
ments and weapons are known; and there is the present stage of 
multifarious characteristics, one of which is the desire to interpret and 
elucidate the earlier stages. The common ground of the archaeologist 
and geologist lies about where the series of stages in the development 
of man overlaps upon the series of episodes in the development of the 

Following is a description of the economic geology of Washington 
and vicinity, prepared especially for this work, at the request of the 
writer of this chapter, by Professor W. J. McGee, of the United States 
Geological Survey. 

" There are in the District of Columbia and immediately adjacent 
territory eight formations or groups of rocks, each of which yields 
materials of economic value. The formations and the more important 
resources found within each are as follows: 

Age. Formation. Economic Materials 

Pleistocene Columbia Brick clays, building sand, gravel, and cobbles. 

,, [ Lafayette Gravel and cobbles. 

Neocene < 

[^ Chesapeake.... Infusorial earth. 

Eocene Pamunkey Green sand or glauconitic marl. 

p, , _ j Severn Building sand and molding sand. 

i_^retaceous s ^ 

[^Potomac I Brick clays, pottery clays, building sand, gravel, cob- 

1^ bles, building stone, and iron ores. 

Archfean Piedmont gneiss... Building material, macadam, gold, and steatite. 

Jura-Trias Newark Brown stone, Potomac marble. 

"The Columbia formation is a sheet of brick clay, or loam, with a 
bed of sand, gravel, or bowlders at the base. It lies on both sides of 
the Potomac River below Georgetown up to altitudes of one hundred 
and forty or one hundred and fifty feet above tide, practically the 
wliole of the city being founded upon it. Over the eastern part of 
the area occupied by the city, particularly between the Capitol and the 
city jail, and between Graceland Cemetery and the Pennsylvania Rail- 


way, the upper portion of the deposit is a valuable brick clay. Sontli 
of the river the brick clay layer is even more extensive, stretching 
from Jackson City westward to Arlington Cemetery and southward to 
Alexandria, and in this tract the brick clay is quite thick, often 
reaching from ten to iifteen feet. The clay makes an excellent red 
brick, from which most of the buildings of the city have been con- 
structed. It is also used to some extent for pressed brick. The 
deposit is similar, not only geologically bnt in composition and in the 
character of the product, to that of the well-known 'Philadelphia 
brick clay.' 

"South of the Potomac, a bed of excellent building sand is found 
beneath the brick clay, and a corresponding sand bed is sometimes 
found in the eastern part of the city of Washington. In the western 
part of the city, a bed of gravel or of cobble stones and bowlders, 
wdiich are largely used for guttering, for the foundation of asphalt 
pavements, and for other purposes, is frequently found below the 
brick clay or loamy member in a position corresponding to that of 
the sand bed. 

"The Lafayette formation, as developed in the vicinity of Wash- 
ington, consists of a bed of well-rounded quartz gravel, imbedded in 
a matrix of red sand. The gravel is coarsest and most abundant west 
and northwest of a line passing through the Capitol, and on some of 
the eminences in the direction of Tenallytown the deposit consists 
almost wholly of gravel, the sandy matrix being quite scant. South- 
east of that line, the gravel is finer and less abundant, and toward 
Marlborougb becomes inconspicuous, the formation consisting almost 
wholly of the sandy element. This gravel has been largely used as a 
foundation for asphalt pavements and as macadam, but its value for 
these purposes is not fully appreciated. It is within limits to say 
that no better material for road making exists in the world than this 
quartz gravel of the Lafayette formation. Considered as a geologic 
deposit, this formation once extended continuously from a line passing 
through Tenallytown and somew^hat east of Falls Church eastward to 
Chesapeake Bay, and also extended northward and southward for 
hundreds of miles; but the greater part of this ancient deposit has 
been washed aw^ay by the rivers and streamlets, so that it now exists 
only in the form of remnants, generally crowning the higher lands 
back from the rivers. The most valuable deposits are found in the 
vicinity of the Soldiers' Home, about Silver Springs, in the neighbor- 
hood of Tenallytown, over Wesley Heights, and along the upland 
scarp stretching from Fort Myer to beyond Alexandria. 


"The Chesapeake formation consists of fine materials, mainly sand 
with some clays, together with layers of a line mealy substance which, 
under the microscope, is found to consist of the siliceous shells of 
minute organisms known as Infusoria. The infusorial earth of this 
formation has long been known at Richmond, and recent investigations 
by the Geological Survey indicate that the Washington beds are quite 
as extensive and valuable as those of Virginia. The material is used 
as a polishing powder (sometimes under the name tripoli) and for 
various mechanical purposes. It crops out in almost all of the roads 
of the eastern part of the District and contiguous portions of Maryland. 

"The Pamunkey formation is composed of fine green sand mixed 
with varying amounts of organic matter and clay, and usually con- 
taining a considerable proportion of the mineral glauconite. In certain 
parts of the formation, the glauconite is so abundant as to give the 
deposit the character of the well-known natural fertilizer of this and 
other countries usually called green sand or green-sand marl. At 
Upper Marlborough, at Fort Washington, and indeed generally on the 
portion of the western shore of Maryland contiguous to the District 
of Columbia, the principal green-sand bed is fifteen to thirty feet in 
tliickness, while the other beds of which the formation is composed 
are also glauconitic to a greater or less extent. Green sand has been 
mined and shipped for use as a fertilizer in a small way; but the 
value of the material is not yet adequately" appreciated. In New 
Jersey a similar natural fertilizer, derived from the same f rmation, has 
been extensively employed, with the result of transforming the barren 
wastes of early days into the splendid fields and vegetable gardens 
from which the metropolis of JSew York is supplied. There is no 
doubt that eventually the sterile fields and naked hillsides sometimes 
seen in the vicinity of Washington will be similarly transformed by 
the use of this material. 

"The Severn formation is commonly a thin bed of black micaceous 
sands found in the eastern part of the District and in contiguous 
portions of Maryland. The quartz sand of this formation is com- 
monly sharp, and when found in sufficient purity, as is the case in 
several localities in Maryland, forms an excellent building sand. Some 
of the finer parts of the formation are used to a slight extent as 
molding sand. 

"The Pototiiac formation consists of a variety of materials, includ- 
ing various kinds of clays and several grades of sand, besides beds of 
gravel and cobble stones. The finest clays are suitable for the manu- 
facture of pottery, but have not been utilized for this purpose in the 


viciiiit}' of Washington, oxce}tt at Terra Cotta. There tlie nuiteiial is 
employed in the manutueture of tlie so-called terra cotta or pottery 
tnbing used largely in the city for sewers, drain pipes, culverts, etc. 
In New Jersey, the pottery clays of the same formation are extensively 
used in the manufacture of tire brick, and other varieties are used for 
the tiner grades of porcelain for which this country is now becoming 

"Another variety of clay sometimes found in the Potomac formation 
is of too low grade for i)Ottery use, yet is suitable f r the manufacture 
of common or pressed brick. This matei'ial lias thus far been exten- 
sively used only at the Columbia Brick Works, but other works using 
the same material might well be established in sufticient number to 
supply local and other demands. 

"Some of the sand beds of the fornuition yield an excellent grade 
of sharp sand, the best building sand, indeed, of the District. In grad- 
ing the northern part of the city, it has long been a common practice 
to remove the entire thickness of the Columbia formation (using the 
upper part for brick making, screening the lower part for sand and 
for gravel, and removing the bowlders and cobbles for street making) 
and then carr}^ the excavation several feet or yards beneatli the grade 
level for the purpose of extracting the valuable building sands of the 
Potomac formation, and tinally tilling these sand pits with the refuse 
from both formations. 

" West of a line passing through the Capitol and the town of 
Laurel, the Potomac formation contains considerable quantities of well- 
rounded quartzite pebbles and cobblestones, which are often accumu- 
lated in considerable beds. These, like the similar materials of the 
Lafayette formation, form the best of road material, and have been 
largely used for that purpose. The roadside gutters of the Soldiers' 
Home, Arlington, and otJier public parks and reservations, and of many 
suburban streets and country roads, are lined with cobblestones taken 
from this formation. 

"In the early history of Washington, the formation now known as 
the Potomac was well known as a source of building stone. The 
principal quarries lie beyond the limits of the District, near the mouth 
of Acquia Creek, a tributary of the Potomac from the Virginia side. 
The formation here consists of a peculiar sand consisting of quartz 
crystals, feldspar crystals, scales of mica, and other minerals derived 
from the disintegration of granitoid rocks, the whole forming the mate- 
rial which geologists call arkose; this arkose being locally cemented 
or lithitied in such manner as to form a firm tough rock known 


commercially as the Acquia Creek sandstone. The central portion of 
the Capitol and many otliers among the older buildings of Washington 
are built of this materiah Of recent 3'ears it has not been extensively 
used, partly by reason of the development of the brick industry and 
partly by reason of increased transportation facilities, but it remains 
a valuable resource. In some other localities within and near the 
District, the sands and gravels of the Potomac formation are cemented 
by ferruginous solutions so as to form sand ironstone, sometimes of 
considerable extent and of sufficient firmness to form a strone; and 
durable building stone. The greater part of the wall surrounding the 
grounds of St. Elizabeth's Asylum is built from the sand ironstone of 
this character; and the same material is extensively used in the eastern 
part of the District and contiguous portions of Maryland for founda- 
tions, bridge abutments, etc. 

"In the neighborhood of Baltimore, the clays of the Potomac form- 
ation have long been known as the source of the famous iron carbonate 
ores of Maryland. These 'ore banks,' as they are locally known, have 
long been wrought, and workings extend almost to the District line, 
and, recently, prospecting has been commenced in the southern exten- 
sion of the formation, below Washington, in Virginia. This ore is one 
of the finest in the world, but hitherto has generally been extracted 
only in limited quantities, for the purpose of mixing with lower grade 
ores from other parts of the country. 

"The Newark formation, or Triassic red sandstone, occupies a con- 
siderable area in Maryland and Virginia a few miles west of the 
District boundary. It is the same formation as that yielding the 
brown stone so extensively used in New York, Philadelphia, and 
other Northern nietropoles, and the quality of the rock in this latitude 
is fully equal to that of the New Jersey and Connecticut brown' stone. 
The largest quarries thus far opened are at Seneca, Jiine miles above 
Great Falls. The material is unlimited in quantity. Within the past 
decade it has been largely used in Washington, and might easily be 
shipped to Baltimore and other cities of Eastern Maryland and 

"A few miles further westward the same formation contains great 
beds of peculiar limestone conglomerate known as 'Potomac marble,' 
which forms an effective building material, particularly for interior 
decorative work. The columns in the rotunda of the Capitol are made 
from it. The same material is also extensively used about Leesburg, in 
Virginia, and Barnesville, Maryland, as a source of lime; for it is often 
of sufficient purity for burning into lime, and yields a superior product. 


"The eastern part of tlie District and contiguous parts of Maryland 
and Virginia are underlain ])y the crystalline rock known as the Pied- 
mont gneiss. This formation usuall}' consists of micaceous schists, 
sometimes running into steatite (or soapstone) on the one hand, or 
granite on the other; and, in addition, it contains dykes of the pecul- 
iarly hard and tough rock known as gabbro, and numerous veins of 
crystalline quartz. The formation extends southward through Virginia 
and the Carolinas into Georgia and Alal)aina, and northward through 
Maryland, and Pennsylvania, and Northern New Jersey into New 

"The granitic portions of the formation yield granites which have 
been recently worked in a small way near Cabin John Bridge, just 
beyond the District limits. Thus far the workings here and elsewhere 
in the vicinit}' are not sufticiently extensive to full}' indicate the 
quality and quantity of the material. Further southward, the forma- 
tion yields the well-known Richmond granite. 

"Within the District, as well as beyond its limits, the steatites (or 
soapstones) of the formation were w^-ought by the aborigines, and, to 
some extent, by the early white settlers; but of recent years the mate- 
rial has not been largely worked. The most extensive opening is on 
the line of Connecticut Avenue extended, in the northwestern part of 
the District. There are others in the National Zoological Park, and 
other openings, as well as unwrought veins, are known to occur. 

"The common phase of the Peidmont gneiss, known to the trade 
as blue stone, is extensively quarried, particularly along the southern 
bank of the Potomac, between Georgetown and Little Falls, for use as 
rubble, etc. The harder variet}^ known as gabbro, is also used for 
common masonry. It forms an exceedingly strong and durable rock, 
but, by reason of its hardness, is expensive to work. 

"The crystalline quartz, found in veins intersecting the Piedmont 
srneiss in ffreat number, has long been worked for macadam and for 
other road-making purposes. It is one of the most durable of mate- 
rials, and, unlike the softer rocks, is not ground or disintegrated into 
dust, but remains clean and firm for years. In Pennsylvania, this 
material is ground for use in the manufacture of flint ware or delf. It 
has not yet been thus utilized in the vicinity of the National Capital. 

"In certain portions of the Piedmont gneiss the vein quartz is 
auriferous. The gold mines of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and 
Virginia, are in the quartz veins of this formation, and it seems prob- 
able that one of the richest [tarts of the entire belt is that crossing 
the Potomac River near Great Falls. In the early history of the 



countiy, this belt was partially prospected, and many workings were 
begun; but the discovery of gold in California and in the Rocky 
Mountains diverted attention from the eastern mines, and they were 
abandoned. Recently they have begun to again attract attention, and 
several mines have been opened, and works erected near Great Falls." 

What is written in this volume in reference to the ilora of the 
vicinity of Washington, is derived mainly from that excellent work of 
Professor Lester F. Ward, entitled, "Flora of Washington and Vicin- 
ity," published in 1881 as a "Bulletin of the United States National 
Museum." To this book the reader is referred for fuller details upon 
this subject. The territory included is limited by the Great Falls of 
the Potomac on the north; by the Mount Vernon estate on the south; 
and the east and west limits extend only a few miles in each direction. 

In the early day, there was an organization known as the Wash- 
ington Botanical Society, which was dissolved in 1825, and was 
followed by the Botanic Club, organized the same year. The Botanic 
Club left a catalogue, entitled, "Flora? ColumbianMe Prodromus." The 
"Prodromus" contained a description of 919 distinct names of species 
and varieties of plants in the vicinity. Of these names, 59 are mere 
synonyms for the same plant, leaving 860 distinct plants. Of these 
860 plants, Professor Ward had, at the time of the publication of the 
bulletin, succeeded in identifying 708 as among those now found', and 
he thought six others probably belonged among them, leaving 146 
enumerated in the "Prodromus" not found in recent investigations. 

Of these 146 species, it is not to be inferred that all had disap- 
peared or become extinct, but, instead, w^ere accounted for as follows: 

1. The early botanists made mistakes in naming plants to the 
number of 43. 

2. There were introduced into the catalogue the names of 12 
plants not belonging to the flora of this vicinity. 

3. The range was so unduly extended as to include 10 plants not 
belonging to this vicinity, and, 

4. There were 81 indigenous plants actually extinguished. 
Belonging to the fourth class are the following plants: The white 

baneberry, the cucumber tree, the American barberry, the water 
chinquapin, the Mexican poppy, whitlow-grass, the sweet white violet, 
milkwort, catchtly, corn spurrey, the knawel, herb Robert, indigo plant, 
the vetch, trefoil, butterfly pea, hawthorn, alum root, mitrewort, stone- 
crop, Diamorpha pusilla, deergrass, wild sarsaparilla, sunflower, tick- 
seed, groundsel, plumelcss thistle. Lobelia Nattallii, bellflower, black ash, 
Indian hemp, poke-milkweed, Maryland pink-root, American century 


plant, American colnnibo, heliotrope, gromwell, false groinwell, hedge 
liyssop, Gerardia qucrcifolia and aaricalata, blue curls, mountain mint, 
horse-mint, skullcap, false dragon-head, wild ginger, strawberry blito, 
glasswort or saltwort, kuotweed of the Buckwheat family, red bay, 
spurgewort, three-seeded mercury, sugar berry, American aspen, downy 
poplar, Calla lialaslris or water arum, pondweed, arrowhead, ArctJiusa 
bidbosa (named for the nymph Arethusa), Pogonia jjciidula and divari- 
cata of the Orchis family, lady's slipper, flower-de-luce, Allium striatum. 
of the Onion family, birthroot, yellow-eyed grass, pcepalanthus or dust 
flower, galingale, nut-grass, Ariuidinaria maerosj^erma (a large reed or 
cane), joint grass, a species of millet, the white cedar, club-moss, and 
a certain water plant. 

The extinction of this large number of plants is due, in part at 
least, to the fact that, in 1880, previously and after, a considerable 
extent of country was under cultivation which in 1830 belonged to 
the primeval forest. However, the "Prodromus" was not a complete 
record of the flora of its time, which, according to Professor Ward, 
must have reached as high as fourteen or fifteen hundred vascular 
plants. "It would appear, therefore, that only a little over half the 
plants actually existing were discovered by the early botanists. If the 
proportion of disappearance could be assumed to be the same for 
species not described as for those described by them, this would raise 
the aggregate number to considerably above one hundred — perhaps 
to one hundred and twenty -five. 

"The great number of present known species not enumerated in 
the 'Prodromus,' some of them among our commonest plants, and 
amounting, in the aggregate, to five hundred and thirty-five species, is 
another point of interest, since, after due allowance has been made for 
mistakes in naming them, it remains clear on the one hand that their 
researches must have beeii, compared with recent ones, very superficial, 
and on the other that, not to speak of fresh introductions, many plants 
now common must have then been very rare; otherwise the}' would 
have proven too obtrusive to be thus overlooked." 

The places around Washington which are of botanic interest are 
as follows: The Rock Creek region, the Upper Potomac region, the 
Lower Potomac region, the Terra Cotta region, the Reform School 
region, and the Holmead Swamp region. 

Rock Creek Valley, forming the boundary between Washington 
and Georgetown, is still finely wooded for some distance back from 
the creek, and thus aflbrds a rich field for botanical researcli. This 
region is divided into six sections, the first embracing the series of 


groves between Georgetown and Woodley Park, including several 
ravines. Many plants are found here that are rare elsewhere, as the 
Chaynceliriiim Carolinianam or blazing-star, the Cypripedium jmbescens or 
the large yellow lady's slipper, the Hesperis matronalis or rocket or 
dame's violet, the Liparis Lcesellii or twayblade, an orchidaceous plant. 
There is here also a grove of Aralia spinosa, angelica tree or Hercules' 
club. On the the left bank of the creek lie the Kalorania Heights 
and some fine open woodland. Several interesting plants are to be 
found in Woodley Park, including the Obolaria Virginica (so named 
from the Greek word o/?oAo?, a small coin,) or pennywort, and the 
SpiT(ea Aruncus or goatsbeard. At the head of one of the ravines 
above this is a magnolia and sphagnum swamp, wliere may be found 
the following species of plants: The Veratrmn vlride or American white 
hellebore, a plant containing veratrine, an acrid and poisonous princi- 
ple; Sym2)loca7yus faiidas or skunk cabbage, so named for its odor; the 
Govolobus obliqiius, a twining plant with a greenish flower; the Polem- 
oniam reptans, a blue ornamental water plant. Near Pierce's mill may 
be found the Aralia spinosa mentioned above, Xanthoxglam Americanum, 
Northern prickly-ash or toothache-tree, a shrub with yellowish-green 
flowers appearing in spring before the leaves; the Acer saccharinum or 
sugar or rock maple, the Pinus Strobns or white pine, the Carya alba or 
shellbark or shagbark hickory. Below the mill may be found the Pop- 
alas alba or white poplar, the Acer dasycarpum or white or silver maple. 

From Broad Branch to the Military Road is the flfth, and perhaps 
the most interesting, section in this region. Here are found the 
Ophioylossam mdgatam or adder's-tongue, Anychia dichotoma or forked 
chickweed, the Perilla ocimoides, which appears to have no English 
equivalent, and the Tipularia discolor or the crane-fly orchis. On a 
blutf above Blagden's mill grows the Gaultheria prociimbens or creep- 
ing wintergreen, and half a mile farther up stand a few of the Pinus 
pungens or table-mountain pine. 

In the sixth section, extending from the Brightwood Road to the 
north corner of the District of Columbia, the low hills are covered 
with a second growth of the Pinus inops or scrub pine, and Qaercus 
nigra or black-jack. Above the Claggett estate lies the largest forest 
in the vicinity, and this was the first extensive tract found for the 
Lycopodiani complanatum or ground pine, a long, creeping, evergreen 
plant with a resinous odor. The fame of this forest, however, now 
rests mainly upon its hybrid oaks. Hei'e, also, are found Pyrola ellip- 
tica or shin-leaf, and the Pyrola secanda, another member of the Heath 
family; and the 3Iicrostylis ophioglossoides or adder's-mouth. 


Above Georgetown is a broad and low strip of country, formerly 
known as tlic Carberry Meadows, between the canal and the river, 
about three and a half miles long. Conspicuous among the plants of 
this locality are the following: The Polygonnm amphihiii.m or knot- 
weed, the "hindering knotgrass'' of Shakespeare, so-called because it 
was once thought that an infusion of it would stop the growth of an 
animal; the Isanthus cwndens or false pennyroyal; the Herpestis nigres- 
certs, a creeping plant, apparently without an English name; the 
Brasenia peltata or water-shield, a plant having floating, shield-shaped 
leaves; the Cyperas virens or galingale, and the Nescta verticillafa or 
swamp loosestrife. 

Below Ead's mills are found the following: The Amynarnua 
humilis, the Salix cordata or heart-leafed willow, and the Salix longi- 
folia, another species of willow; Spiranthes latifolia or ladies'-tresses; 
the Samolus Valerandi, American variety, or water pimpernel. Between 
Ead's mills and the chain bridge are the following: The Paronychia 
'lichotoma or wdiitlowwort, the (Enothcra fratlcosa or evening-primrose, 
the Ceanothns ovatus or red-root or New Jersey tea, the Bammculiis 
pasillas, a plant of the Crowfoot family; the Ulricularia gibba, a plant 
of the Bladderwort family. 

High Island is, however, much richer in varieties than the low 
lands, and here are to be found the Jeffersonia diphylla (named in honor 
of President Jefferson) or twin-leaf, and in some places called rheuma- 
tism-root; the Caidophyllum thalictroides, sometimes called pappoose- 
root; the Erigenia bulbosa or harbinger-of-spring, the Sdcnc nloea or 
catchfly, the Valeriana paucijlora or valerian, named either after an 
illustrious Roman named Valerius or derived from the Latin word 
ralcre, to be strong; the Erythroniuni albidam or white dog-tooth-vio- 
let, and the Iris cristata or crested dwarf-iris. 

Above the feeder of the canal is a series of islands, as Feeder Dam 
Island, Box Elder Island, Larkspur Island, Sugar Maple Island, etc., 
the names of which are suggested by the principal plants that are 
found upon them. On the Virginia side of the Potomac, the flora, 
though less rich and varied, is yet interesting, and includes the Rhodo- 
dendron maximiun. or great laurel, wliich is very common on the 
Atlantic slope from Xew York to Georgia; the Iris cristata mentioned 
above, the Scutellaria saxatillif< of the Mint family, the Fycna.nthcnvun 
Torreyi or mountain mint, the Solidago rupestris, a variety of golden- 
rod; the Solidago virgata, another variety of the golden-rod. On the 
Maryland side of the river, above the uppermost point thus men- 
tioned, is Cabin John Run, which is celebrated more by the botanist 


for the walking-feni or Camptosorus rhizophyllas., than for its world- 
renowned arch tliat spans the run. 

In the Lower Potomac region, the localities of special interest are: 
First, Curtis Run, opposite the Arlington estate, where are found the 
following: Sagittaria pusilla or arrowhead, the Discophura capiUacea 
or mock bishop-weed, the Cyperus arythrorhizos or galingale, a S};>ecies 
of the Sedge family. Second, Roach's Run, where are found Scropha- 
laria nodosa, a member of the Figwort family; Tripsacum dactyloides or 
sesame grass, the Pycnanthemum kmceolatum, a species of mountain 
mint. Third, Four Mile Run, where are found the Clematis ochroleuca, 
a member of the Crowfoot family; Asdepias quadrifolia, a species of 
milkweed or Virginia silkweed. Fourth, Hunting Creek and its tribu- 
taries, where are found the Clematis ochroleuca, the Gonolobus hirsutus, a 
member of the Milkweed family; the Itea Virginica, Itea being the 
Greek name of the willow; the Geranium columbinum or long-stalked 
oranesbill, the Micranthemum Nuttallii, a minute flower; the Habenaria 
virescens, a member of the Orchis family; the Quercus macrocarpa or 
burr-oak, the Carex, a member of the Sedge family; the Geum strictum, 
a member of the Rose family; the Galium asprellum or rough bed- 
straw, a member of the Madder family, and also many others. On the 
left bank of the lower Potomac River, below the Goveriiment Hospi- 
tal, is a rich botanical field, which yields the Carex piibescens and 
ietanica, members of the Sedge family; Gonolobus hirsutus mentioned 
above, Silene arenaria, a member of the Pink family; the Parietaria 
Pennsylvania, a wall plant; the Myosotis arrcnsis or forget- me not, the 
Scutellaria nervosa or skullcap, a member of the Mint family. At 
Marshall Hall is found the Asplenium. angastifolium., a fern; opposite 
Fort Foote, Myriophyllum spicatum or water-railfbil; and opposite Alex- 
andria, the Plantago cordata or ribwort, a member of the Plantain 

The Terra Cotta region surrounding Terra Cotta Station, three 
miles from Washington, on the Metropolitan Branch of the Baltimore 
& Ohio Railroad, furnishes the following on the dry ground: The 
Onosmodium Virginianum or false gromwell, the Clitoria Mariana or 
butterfly-pea, and the Habenaria lacera or ragged fringed orchis; while 
in the swamp are found the Aster (Estivus, orastcr, the Solidago stricta 
or golden-rod, the Woodwardia Virginica or chain fern, the Asdepias 
rubra, a milkweed; and the Poterium Canadense or Canadian burnet, a 
member of the Rose family. 

In the region of the Reform School have been found the Phlox 
maculata or wild sweet-william, the Melanthium Virginicum or bunch- 


Hiivver, a member of the Lily family; the Barloiila tcnella or screw- 
stem, the Lcspcdeza Stuvci or bush-clover, the Desmodium Mariland- 
icum or tick-trefoil, a member of the Pulse family; the Buchnera 
Americana or blue-hearts, the Fimbristylis capillaris, a memi)er of 
the Sedge family; the Quercus prinoides or cheetuut oak, the Carcx 
bidlata, a member of the Sedge family; the Hahenaria ciliarU or the 
yellow fringed orchis, and the Gentiana ochroleuca or gentian. 

In the Ilolraead Swamp region, which occupies the ravine leading 
to Piney Branch from the east, at the point where the continuation of 
Fourteenth Street crosses the stream, may be found the Ludwigia 
hirsuta or bastard loosestrife, the Drosera rotandifolia or round-leaved 
sundew, the Asclepias rubra, a milkweed; Xyris flexuosa or yellow-eyed 
grass, the Fuirena squarrosa or umbrella grass, the Rhynchospora alba 
or beak rush, the Coreopsis discordia or tickseed, and the Calopogon 
pidchellus or grass pink, the Greek and Latin name meaning a beauti- 
ful little beard. 

There are other regions where are many rare and beautiful plants, 
but want of space forbids further detail. 



First Exploration of Chesapeake Bay and its Tribntaries — Tribes of Indians npon the 
Bay — Tlie Powhatans, the Manahoacs, and the Monacons — The Moyaones, the 
Nacotchtants, and the Toags — The Shawanese — The Susqnehaunocks, the Tock- 
wocks, and the Nanticokes — The Delawares — Indian Fishing Ground — Indian 
Tradition as to Greenleaf's Point — Formation of the Indian Names of Rivers — 
Fate of the Delaware Indians — Resemblance between Indians of Maryland and 
Virginia — INIassacres of and by Indians — Marriage of Pocahontas — The All-Con- 
(piering Iroquois — The Changing Fortunes of the Aborigines — The Descendants 
of the PoAvhatans Embrace Mormonism. 

THE Indian history of the city of Washington, and indeed of the 
District of Columbia, if confined rigidl\- to the city or to the Dis- 
trict as such, would be very brief indeed. In fact, it might be corn- 
prised in a paraphrase of that famous chapter "Concerning Snakes," 
in "The Natural History of Iceland," by Niels Ilorrebov, reading, "No 
snakes of any kind are to be met with throughout the whole island"; 
but, inasmuch as this work carries the reader back many years beyond 
the legal formation of the District, or the establishment of the city of 
Washington, in other chapters, — notably that on the settlement of this 
region, — it would seem at least proper, even if it be not required by 
tlie scope of this work, to notice brieliy the various tribes of red men 
that inhabited the southern part of Maryland and the northern part 
of the State of Virginia, in the vicinity of the District of Columbia. 
The tirst exploration of the Chesapeake and its tributary streams 
was made by Captain John Smith, accompanied by fourteen compan- 
ions, — a physician, six gentlemen, and seven laborers, — on a June day 
in 1608. Upon entering the bay, they crossed to the eastern side, and 
there saw two stout and grim savages upon Cape Charles, with long 
poles, like javelins, headed with bone, who boldly demanded who they 
were, and what they were about. Having satisfied these tierce warriors 
of their peaceful intentions, they continued some distance up the bay, 
and, returning along the western shore, they ascended the Potomac 
River. But the great Chief Powhatan was opposed to this exploration, 
and so ordered the little band of explorers to be cut off; and in conse- 
quence of this opposition, they found themselves generally the objects 


of iiiai'kcd liostility at several points as tliey ascended tlic river. Tlieir 
ex[ilorations were continued, notwithstanding, as tar u}) the river as 
Little Falls, — about tive miles above the present site of" the city of 
Washington, — and then, unable to proceed farther, the river at that 
point being impassable for boats, they retraced their steps to James- 

At the time of this exploration, there were about thirty tribes, 
principal and subordinate, living upon the shores of the bay in Mary- 
land and Virginia. The ciiief of these principal tribes were the 
Powhatans, the Manahoacs, and the Monacons. The Powhatans inhab- 
ited the shores of tlie Chesapeake Bay as far north as the Patuxent, in 
Maryland, and the other tribes mentioned lived on the territorj- con- 
tiguous to the York and the Potomac rivers. The Manahoacs and 
the Monacans, who w^ere continuously at war with the Powhatans in 
Virginia, inhabited the present District of Columbia. The former of 
these two tribes, after being greatly decimated by war, [)estilence, and 
spirituous liquors, deserted their country in Virginia, about 1712, and 
migrated to the West, joining either the Iroquois or the Tuscaroras. 

Some of the smaller tribes which had settlements at the time of 
Captain Smith's exploration mentioned above w^ere the Moyaones, the 
Xacotchtants, and the Toags. These showed Smith and his companions 
all possible friendship. Each was a distinct tribe, and had a settlement 
of its own named after itself. The settlement of the Toags was at, or 
near, Mount Vernon, appears on Smith's map of Virginia as "Taux- 
enent," and was about seventeen miles below the present city of 
Washington. The settlement of the Moyaones appears, from the same 
map, to have been directly opposite, in Maryland, just below the 
mouth of the Piscatawa}', while Xacotchtant, or Nacochtank, was on 
the same side with the Moyaones, just below the Eastern Branch, and 
within the present limits* of the District, 

The Shawnees, or Shawanese, as they were called at an earlier 
time, are believed to have inhabited that part of Maryland between 
the Patuxent and Patapsco rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay and the 
Allegheny Mountains. The Susquehannocks, or Susquehannas, lived on 
the banks of the Sus({uehanna River, in Maryland, toward the west, 
extending consideriibly into Pennsylvania. The Tockwocks and the 
!N^anticokes lived in Kent, Queene Anne, and Talbot counties, from 
the Sassafras River to the Choptauk; the Nanticokes also inhabited 
Dorchester and Somerset counties. 

According to Heckewelder, the Lenai Lenape, or Delaware, Indians 
covered all that part of the seacoast from the "Potowmack" River 


to the Hudson, and Mr. Bozman, in his excellent history of Maryland, 
says: "There is indeed strong presumption, from the great extent of 
the Lenape language, together with the traditions of that nation, that 
their territory might formerly have extended from the tide water on 
the Hudson, near Albany, to those of the Patomack and Patuxent; 
and if the Nanticokes were one of the tribes of the Lenapes, and their 
language a dialect of the language of that nation, the Lenape territory 
might also have comprehended all the eastern shore of Maryland, and 
the several tribes thereof. It is stated in Smith's 'History of Vir- 
ginia,' that the part of the peninsula of the eastern shore which was 
then deemed, and is still, as a part of Virginia, formed also a part of 
Powhatan's territories, and that the Accomacks and the Accohan- 
nocks, the two tribes who occupied the present counties of Northamp- 
ton and Accomac, were of the Powhatan nation, and spoke that 

And again: "As to the extent of the Lenape territory on the 
western shore of Maryland, being bounded by the tide water of the 
Patowmack, as stated by Mr. Heckewelder, this receives some confirma- 
tion from the circumstance mentioned in Pory's travels as hereinbefore 
stated. When Pory went, in 1820, to settle the secretary's lands on the 
eastern shore of Virginia, he there met with Namenacus, king of a large 
tribe on the Patuxent River, in Maryland, called Powtuxants. Xamen- 
acus had come to the eastern shore in order to meet one Thomas 
Salvage, an Englishman, who, when a boy, having been presented to 
the Emperor Powliatan in exchange for Nomentacke, an Indian boy, 
had long lived with the Powhatans, and having completely learned 
their language, was in the habit of occasionally acting as interpreter 
between the Indians and the English. Meeting with Pory and Salvage 
at Accomack, Namenacus invited them to visit him at Patuxent. Pory 
accordingly went, and was attended by Salvage, who acted on all 
necessary occasions as interpreter. If, then, the Indian language which 
this interpreter had learned when a boy with the Indians was the 
Powhatan language, as we must necessarily suppose it to have been, 
from his learning it with and under the Emperor Powhatan, it seems 
to follow that the several tribes of Indians on the Patuxent, with 
whose language Salvage, the interpreter, seems to have been familiar, 
spoke the Powhatan language, and might, therefore, be considered as 
among the confederate tribes who belonged to Powhatan's empire." 

Mr. Bozman presents other correspondences and confirmations, 
which appear to strengthen this position, but it is not deemed necessary 
to follow them further in this work. 

/ND/.IX ///S /OR): 59 

It is stated, on tlic iinthority of the early settlers of Maryland, that 
the valley at the foot of Ca[>itol Hill, in the city of Wasliingto!i. for- 
merly drained hy the Tiher Creek, the Potomac, and tlie Eastern 
Branch, was for some years })criodically visited by tlie Indians, who 
named it their "fishing ground," to distinguish it from their hunting 
ground, and that in the spring of the year especially did they assemble 
there in great numbers to procure fisli. The principal camp of the 
Indians and the residence of their chief were at Greenlcaf's Point, and 
their councils were held among the various tribes thus gathered to- 
gether. This, if not strictly historical, is at least traditional, and it is 
supposed by some writers that General Washington was informed of 
this tradition, and the inference is intimated that this fact had some- 
thing to do with his determination to locate the Capitol of the Nation 
he was establishing on the same spot of ground. 

According to Schoolcraft, the Indian tribes, in most cases, dwelt 
on the banks of the rivers, and the Indian geographical names are 
at once appropriate and euphonic. The rivers were denoted by an 
inflection to the root form of the name; as, annah, annock, any, hany, 
cjhany, etc. Thus came the names AWe-ghany, Rappah-a???;o(?/:, Susqueh- 
annock, etc. In ditferent languages there were of course different 
terminal inflections. The Delawares, or Lenapes, used the term ittuk 
for the same purpose; hence, in their language, heuixpeh-ittHk meant 
the Lenape River, or the Delaware River. In the fifth volume, 
however, Schoolcraft says: "This term, 'Lenapeh-?7^«i/:,' is composed 
of Lenape, the name given themselves, and ittuk, which geographical 
term is equivalent to the English word domain or territory, and is 
inclusive of the specific sepii, their name for river. After the successful 
planting of the colony in Virginia, the coasts became more subject to 
observation than at prior periods by vessels bound to Jamestown with 
supplies. On one of these voyages, Lord De la Ware put into the capes 
of the river, and hence the present name of this river and the tribe." 

According to the same authority, the name "Lenape" was prob- 
ably used nationally in the sense of "men"; for these Indians had 
regarded themselves as having held an eminent position for antiquity, 
valor, and wisdom. This claim appeared to be recognized b}' other 
tribes of this region, who applied to them the term "grandfather," 
while to the Iroquois they applied the term "uncle," which was 
reciprocated by the latter by the term "nephew." The other tribes 
of the Algonquin lineage the Delawares called "brother," or "younger 

But the fate of the Delawares, like that of most of the tribes of 


red men that once inhabited this fair hmd, was a mehmcholy one. 
Like the Mohicans, tlie Algonquins, the Eries, the Andastes, and the 
Susqnehannas, tiie Delawares were coni[)elle(l to leave the countrj- 
which had for many years l)een their home. About the year 1744, by 
the command of Canassatego, the chief of the powerful and relent- 
less Iroquois, they were ordered to leave this section of the country 
and remove to the banks of the Susquehanna. They accordingly quit- 
ted forever the banks of their native and beautiful Delaware, the scene 
of man}' memories and the resting place of the bones of their ances- 
tors, turning their faces, with emotions that may be imagined, to the 

Mr. James Mooney lent the writer of this brief chapter valuable 
assistance. According to him, "on the Virginia side, directly across 
the Long Bridge, opposite Washington, was another settlement, called 
Nameroughquena, and between it and Tauxenent (Mount Vernon) 
were two others, known respectively as Assaomeck (about Alexandria) 
and Xamassingakent (below Alexandria). Several other small settle- 
ments existed aljout the mouth of the Piscataway on the Maryland 
side. . . . Nacochtank, which was the residence of a chief and con- 
tained eighty warriors, was the principal settlement within or adjoining 
the District. The Jesuits, who came out later with Lord Baltimore, 
Latinized the name as Anacosfan, whence we get Anacosiia, the 
modern name of the Eastern Branch at Washington, and of the post 
office at Uniontown on its southeastern bank, and perhaps also Ana- 
lostan, the name of tlie island opposite Georgetown." 

The Indians of Maryland and those of Virginia closely resembled 
each other. Those of the former State were descendants of the same 
race with the Powhatans, and spoke dialects of the great Algonquin 
language. I'owhatan himself claimed jurisdiction over the Patuxent, 
l)ut it is doubtful as to whether he ever enforced his claim. The name 
of Chesapeake Bay is, in all probability, of Algonquin origin. As a 
general thing, the accounts of the Maryland Indians represent them 
as a simple, open, appreciative, and confiding people, tilled with won- 
der at the appearance of their European visitors. Father White, who 
accompanied Calvert, says they were endowed with an ingenious and 
liberal disposition, and an acuteness of sight, and smell, and taste that 
even surpassed the Europeans, and that they lived mostly on an article 
of food which they called "pone," or hominy, etc. 

The Susqnehannas claimed the territory between the Potomac and 
the Susquehanna rivers, when Jamestown was settled, as their hunting 
ground, and it marked the boundary between their lands and the 

/X/)/.L\ HISTORY. (Jl 

Powhataiiic kingdom. kSul)soquciitly they moved their council fire 
down the western shore to tlie J^iituxcnt to avoid conflicts with the 
Iroquois; but, on the other liuiid, they came in contact with a chiss of 
wliite j)eoi>le from whom tliey contracted tlie habit of using alcoiiolic 
liquors, which proved a more powerful, even if a more insidious, enemy 
tlian the Iroquois. Like tlie coast tril)es of Virginia, tliey exchanged 
all the available })roducts of their streams and forests for tlie means 
of indulgence, and when they were gone they sold their lands; and 
besides, the}' sometimes engaged in war with neighboring tribes, so 
that it was not long before they were without the power of self- 
defense. The white people of Virginia, in order to avenge a supposed 
murder of one of their number, made war upon them and killed a 
good many of the Susquehannas, who accused the Senecas of having 
committed the murder; but who the perpetrators were, was never known. 
Other massacres followed, however, and the people of Maryland, raisin^- 
a force of one thousand men, marched against the Susquehannas, under 
the command of Colonel John Washington, great-grandfather of Gen- 
eral George Washington; and afterward, by other wars upon them, the 
Susquehannas were driven to the necessit}' of uniting witli tlie Canas- 
togas, an original Oneida tribe of Indians. Thus were the Susquehannas 
reduced from the proud position of a leading and conipieri ng tribe to 
a subordinate one within another tribe, to be ultimately swallowed up 
and entirely obscured. 

Besides the Powhatans in Virginia, there were the Iroquois and 
the Chickahominies. Tlie Powhatans were won over to the English 
especially by the marriage of Pocahontas to Mr. Rolfe, and the power- 
ful Chickahominies themselves desired the friendship of the English; 
but the marriage, though a remarkable event in history, was nothing 
more. The blending of the English and Indian races, which some 
fondly hoped and believed they saw foreshadowed by this marriage, 
was, in reality, an impossibility. In social affairs, and more particularly 
in marriage, there must, from necessity, be a community of thought, 
and feeling, and taste, much of which comes from heredity, which 
cannot be found in individuals of races differing so widely in habit of 
thought and feeling as do the white and Indian, or white and negro. 
This important fact, which is the essential basis of happiness in the 
married relation, was entirely unknown to those honest people wlio 
opposed the abolition of slavery on the ground that such abolition 
must soon be followed by an indiscriminate marriage of whites and 
blacks. It is now everywhere recognized that no argument against 
justice was ever more absurd. 


In closing this brief mention of the Indian races that lived in this 
region np to and daring a portion of the time since the country has 
been occupied by the white race, it is believed that we cannot do 
better than to introduce the following extract from Mr. Mooney's 
article on the same subject heretofore quoted from: 

"The Susquehannocks continued their inroads upon Indians and 
whites alike until 1652, in which year a treaty was made, onl}' to be 
broken in 1676, when the pi'essure of the ten-ible Iroquois on the north 
drove the Susquehannocks themselves from their ancient homes, and 
forced them down upon the frontiers of Maryland and Virginia, which 
they ravaged from the Patuxent to the James, until defeated and 
almost exterminated I)}' iSTathaniel Bacon in a decisive battle at the 
present site of Richmond. The result was a treaty of peace in 1677, 
by w^iich all the Indians as far as the head of Chesapeake Bay were 
brought under tribute to the whites, 

"Between the upper and nether millstones, the original proprietors 
of the Potomac region had been well-nigh ground out of existence, 
and the miserable remnant was still pursued with unrelenting hatred 
by the conquering Iroquois. The Tauxenents joined the few survivors 
of the Virginia Powliatans, who retired to the Pamunkey River, where 
about fifty mixed bloods still remain, about twenty miles east of Rich- 
mond. The Maryland tribes gradually consolidated under the name 
of the Piscataways, and removed about the year 1700 to a new settle- 
ment on the lower Susquehanna, near Bainbridge, Pennsylvania. Here 
they became known as the Conoys, and under this designation they 
afterward moved higher up the river and settled at Chenango, under 
the protection of the Iroquois, about 1740. In 1765, they numbered 
only about one hundred and iifty souls. Still later they removed to 
the Ohio Valley, where they joined their kindred, the Delawares. 
They made their last appearance as a separate tribe at a council held 
at Detroit in 1793. 

"While on a visit to the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina 
in the summer of 1887, the writer accidentally obtained some additional 
information which has never before appeared in print, and which illus- 
trates, in a striking manner, the shifting fortunes of the aboriginal 
tribes. A young Cherokee, named Samuel Owl, had married a woman 
of the Catawbas — once a powerful tribe, but now reduced to a feeble 
remnant of about a dozen families, living on the river of the same 
name in South Carolina. In talking one day with this woman about 
lier own people, slie mentioned that a number of Indians formerly 
lived with them who were ditferent from the Catawbas, and were called 

/\/)/.L\ HJsroK)-. 63 

'Pamunks.' On further questioning, slie stated that they were all 
descendants of, or related to, an Indian named John Mush, who had 
come from Virginia about fifty years before. They were unquestion- 
ably some of tlie Pamunkeys, already mentioned as still existing near 
Richmond. On asking her what had become of them, she said that 
they were constantly quarreling with the Catawbas, — for the old tribe 
hatred still lives on, — until some Mormon missionaries from the West 
arrived in that vicinity a few years ago, when the 'Pamunks,' glad of 
an opportunity to escape from their persecutors, embraced the new 
doctrines, and followed their deliverers to the far-distant land of Utah, 
where the last descendants of the lordly Powhatans now read their 
lonely destiny in the waters of the Great Salt Lake." 



The First American Congress — Circular Letter to the Colonies — The Spirit of Inde- 
pendence — The Necessit}' of a Permanent Seat of Government — The Attack upon 
Congress in Philadelphia — Its Effect — Oilers from States for a Site for a Perma- 
nent Residence — Views of Individuals — Discussions on the Subject in Congress — 
The Plan of Two Federal Towns — The Convention of 1787 — The Nature of 
Control over the Seat of Government Sought l)y Congress — History of the 
Movement to Settle the Question of a Permanent Seat of Government — The 
Question Finally Set at Rest — The Act of July, ]7i»0, Authorizing the President 
to Locate the Federal District — The Removal of the Federal Offices to the City of 

IT is evident, from a study of the early history of oiir country, that 
the stability of its government was dependent upon no one circum- 
stance more than the permanency of the seat of that government. The 
lirst American Congress, or rather Convention ot" the Colonies, for the 
purpose of organized opposition to the measures adopted by the parent 
country deemed oppressive to the colonies, was held in New York. 
Delegates were present from nearly all of the colonies, and the matters 
considered were the Stamp Act and other grievances, from which the 
colonies considered that tliey suffered great wrong and oppression. 
The call for this Congress — tiie reason for which it was assembled — 
was "to consult together on the present circumstances of the colonies, 
and the difficulties to which they are, and must be, sul)jected by the 
operation of the acts of Parliament for levying duties and taxes on 
the colonies, and to consider a general and united, dutiful and humble, 
representation of their condition to his Majesty and the Parliament, 
and to implore relief." This Congress was not without some good 
results. Tlie Stamp Act, the principal ground of grievance, was re- 
pealed. Other causes of grievance, however, continued, and a second 
Congress was called, to meet at Philadelphia. The oidy known result 
of this Congress, wliich sat with closed doors, was that it was resolved 
that another Congress should be called, unless redress of grievances 
from which the colonies suffered should be first obtained. It was rec- 
ommended that the session should also be held at Philadelphia. This 
Congress was opposed by the King and his advisers, and the secretary 

\\:isj//X(:7i)\/i/-:c(>.]//i.s riii: capjial. 65 

for the colonies sent to all the governors of the colonies a circular 
letter, us follows: 

"Certain persons, styling themselves delegates of his Majesty's 
colonies in America, having presumed, without his Majesty's authority 
or consent, to assemble together at Philadelphia, in the months of 
September and October last [1774], and having thought lit, among 
other unwarrantable proceedings, to resolve that it will be necessary 
that another Congress should be held in the same place in May next, 
unless redress for certain pretended grievances be obtained before that 
time, and to recommend that all the colonies in North America should 
choose deputies to attend such Congress; I am commanded by the King 
to signify to you his Majesty's pleasure that you do use all your utmost 
endeavors to prevent any such appointment of deputies within the 
country under your government, and that you do exhort all persons to 
desist from such unwarrantable proceedings, which cannot but be 
highly displeasing to the King." 

This proclamation, however, had but little or no effect. The spirit 
of independence had already taken root. In May, 1775, the third 
American Congress met at Philadelphia, and from that time America 
has never been without a Congress. The Declaration of Independence 
soon followed, and after the adoption of the Articles of Confederation, 
annual sessions of Congress were, by its provisions, held at such times 
and places as were determined upon. 

The members of the Congress thus assembled were designated, in 
the credentials issued to them, as members of the "American Con- 
gress," and the "General Congress." Its meetings were held in Phil- 
adelphia during tlie whole period of the War of the Revolution, except 
when prevented by the exigencies of tliat war, or when that city was 
held and threatened by the enemy, at which times it met at Baltimore, 
from December 20, 1776, to February 27, 1777; at Lancaster, Pennsyl- 
vania, on the 27th of September, 1777, and at Yorktown, Pennsylvania, 
from September 27, 1777, to June 27, 1778. 

During all this time it does not seem that any attempt or sugges- 
tion even was made toward the establishment of a permanent seat of 
government, or fixed residence of Congress. This may have been 
owing somewhat to the unstable and weak character of the government 
of the Confederation, or it may have been due to other circumstances. 
However this may have been, it became apparent that unless some 
fixed and determinate habitation was decided upon for the residence 
of Congress, it would be idle to hope for anything like a pernuinent 
government. It was when matters were in this condition, after the 


cessation of hostilities with the mother country, and after her col- 
onies, which had declared themselves independent States, had assumed 
authority to treat for peace and a recognized nationality, that the 
Congress then sitting in Philadelphia was threatened by a mob of 
dissatisfied soldiers. 

This event took place in June, 1783, and was the cause of great 
excitement and controversy. Its importance in the history of the coun- 
try is great, for from it may be dated the first decided intimation of a 
fixed and permanent seat of government; in other words, the necessity 
of a JSTational Capital City, under the sole and exclusive control of the 
Congress, and independent of all State government and influence. Its 
immediate ett'ect was the removal of Congress from the city of Phila- 
delphia; and though the Confederation continued to exist for five years 
longer, and every efibrt was made by the authorities of Pennsylvania to 
induce it to resume its sessions within her domain. Congress persistently 
refused to return to that city. Sessions were held at Princeton, Annap- 
olis, Trenton, and New York, but never again in Philadelphia during 
the continuance of the Confederation. It is true that before the 
occurrence of the events detailed above the idea of the establishment 
of a permanent seat of government had been suggested. A motion 
was made that Congress should hold open sessions, the postponement of 
the consideration of which was urged until Congress "shall have fixed 
upon some place where it may be proper to continue its residence, and 
where it may have some kind of jurisdiction without being exposed 
to the infiuence of any particular State." New York oft'ered to cede 
the town of Kingston, and Maryland the city of Annapolis, as places 
for the seat of government, and upon the report of a committee these 
ofters of the two States mentioned were transmitted to the other 
States, and a day was assigned for their consideration. By these means 
the subject of a "permanent residence" for Congress was brought 
to the attention of all the States, and four months were allowed for 
reflection, examination, and offers before any action was proposed to 
be taken. But it must be evident, notwithstanding all this, that nothing 
so clearly presented the necessity of the determination of a place of 
permanent residence for Congress, and likewise the necessit}^ of an 
exclusive jurisdiction over the place so selected, as the events which 
drove the Congress from the city of Philadelphia, and made that city 
and other cities which could be controlled by mob influence unsafe as 
a place for such permanent residence as Congress was seeking. It may 
be interesting in this connection to note some of the reasons urged, 
not only in Congress, but by citizens of different sections of the 


country, for the location of" the seat of" government in the phices of" 
their special selection. 

A gentleman, writing from Philadelphia June 3, 1783, says: "The 
Legislature of Maryland has passed a resolution in which they bid ^ 
high for the residence of Congress. They ofter the city of Annapolis 
and its precincts, to be solely and exclusively under the jurisdiction of 
Congress; the statehouse and all other public buildings for their use 
and the use of the diplomatic corps; the Governor's house for the res- 
idence of his Excellency, the President of Congress; and to build 
houses for the delegates of each State, for which purpose they appro- 
priate a sum not exceeding £30,000 specie (dollars at six shillings 
each). This ofler is for the permanent residence of Congress. Mary- 
land has far exceeded the proposals of New York. What think you 
of this kind of auctioneering?" 

The following article in favor of Williamsburg, Virginia, is from 
the newspapers of that day: 

"Overtures have been made to Congress by the States of New 
York and Maryland, by which the former has offered to cede the 
township of Kingston in said State as the future seat of Congress, 
together with an exclusive jurisdiction therein and the establishment 
of such jurisdiction as Congress shall think proper. The State of 
Maryland has ofi"ered the city of Annapolis (with the unanimous con- 
currence of the inhabitants to subject themselves to the jurisdiction of 
Congress), the assembly house for the session of Congress, the Gov- 
ernor's house for the President, and to build a hotel for each State at 
the expense of Maryland, provided it does not exceed £30,000, together 
with a jurisdiction of whatever nature and extent Congress may deem 
necessary, over the city and three hundred acres of the adjoining land. 
The advantages which will accrue to any State in which Congress 
shall establish the seat of their future sessions will, we doubt not, be 
fully weighed by the legislature of the State, and the convenience 
which at first view presents itself in favor of the city of Williamsburg 
for that purpose, in which there are large, elegant, commodious public 
buildings now vacant, and a considerable tract of public lands thereto 
adjoining, when added to the superior advantages of its central situa- 
tion to all America, will certainly counterbalance the liberal offers of 
the States of New York and Maryland, or any other State." 

The following is an extract from a letter from a gentleman in 
New Jersey, where Congress was then sitting, to his friend in Provi- 
dence, Khode Island, dated August 26, 1783, recommending a western 
location for the seat of o-overnment: 


"Where will Congress establish their residence? is a question much 
ao-itated. It is a question of great importance, no less to the United 
States in general, than to the particular State that may obtain the 
■lionor. It seems the general voice of the people that large cities are 
to be avoided; for this opinion a variety of reasons are assigned, too 
obvious to need enumeration. A small State, nearly central, ouglit to 
be preferred to an opulent State, either northward or southward, which 
might hazard a competition of interest. On this account New Jersey 
has many voices. Whatever disadvantages hereafter mingle themselves 
with the emoluments attending the permanent residence of Congress, 
it is not to be doubted that the real estate in the vicinity, and even 
throughout the State, will instantaneously receive a great additional 

"For these reasons I submit to you a proposition entirely new, and 
which cannot fail to be acceptable to your State, as you are largely 
interested in the public credit and can entertain little or no hope of 
seeing Congress established in your island, however delightful and 
commodious that situation might be. By the treaty of peace and by 
the cessions of the claims of some of the States made and to be made, 
the United States are and will be in possession of an immense extent 
of territory lying southward of the lakes, eastward of the Mississippi, 
and westward of the Allegheny Mountains. 

"A late calculator in a Boston paper scruples not to assert that 
these lands at sixpence an acre would extinguish the whole of our 
national debt. On the proposition, therefore, that Congress should 
establish their residence (suppose for a term of only thirteen years) at 
some of those commodious and young settlements, as Detroit, Louis- 
ville, Kaskaskia, St. Vincent's, Sandusky, etc., etc., what an amazing 
value would be added to that important territory! how incredulously 
would it accelerate the rapidity of its settlement and population! Lest 
at first view you should sneer at the proposal, or condemn it at once 
as chimerical, I pray you to consider the subject for a moment in a 
serious light. Is not the establishment of a national credit an object 
of tirst magnitude? Ought any practicable means to obtain it (con- 
sistent with our liberties) to be left unattempted? But you will ask, 
Has Congress moneys to expend for buildings, etc.? I answer. Perhaps 
one quarter of the lands in the compass of twenty miles square fixed 
on for the residence of Congress, whereby they would be amazingly 
appreciated, would be amply sufficient to erect buildings suitable for a 
republican court. But you will, in fine, demand a security against 
the inconvenience of savage insurrections, etc., etc. To this I answer, 

ir. i\///.\ (;/'(). V /i/tco.u/us the c.inrr.ii.. 69 

Congress may there assume plenary jurisdiction, or model their gov- 
ernment on the most perfect plan of modern refinement, and lands 
in their vicinity being allotted to those brave officers and men who 
have served in the late glorious war, iji lieu of their certificates, they 
would plant themselves around their patrons as an impregnable 
bulwark against the natives, and Congress would be safe as they ever 
were in the city of Philadelphia." 

By a resolution of Congress then in session at Yorlctown, Penn- 
sylvania, passed June 4, 1783, it was resolved "that copies of the act 
of the Legislature of Maryland, relative to the cession of Annapolis 
to Congress for their permanent residence, and also copies of the act 
of the Legislature of New York, relative to the cession of Kingston 
for the same purpose, together with the papers which accompanied 
both acts, be transmitted to the executives of the respective States, and 
that they be informed that Congress have assigned the first Monday in 
October next for taking said offers into consideration." This resolu- 
tion brought the whole subject before Congress for consideration. It 
was evident that the matter was deemed in every way of the first im- 
portance. The great State of New York generously oftered one of its 
most tliriving towns, beautifully situated on the romantic Hudson, and 
Maryland offered its capital, already distinguished for the charm of its 
climate and the culture and elegance of its inhabitants, as places fit for 
the permanent residence of Congress. These offers were coupled with 
the further grant to Congress of the exclusive, unlimited authority of 
the General Government over such places. This was all that could be 
required, and it seemed an easy matter for Congress to determine upon 
one or the other as the future residence of the infant government. 
Indeed, Congress went so far as to appoint a committee "to consider 
what jurisdiction may be proper for Congress in the place of its per- 
manent residence." The importance of this had been rendered manifest 
by the condition of affairs at Philadelphia at the time of the mutiny, to 
which reference has already been made. This committee recommended 
in its report, made on tlie 5th of September, that Congress "ought to 
enjoy an exclusive jurisdiction over the district which may be ceded 
and accepted for its permanent residence, and that the district so 
ceded ought not to exceed the contents of six miles square, nor to be 
less than three miles square." 

Subsequentl}' this report was considered, but no conclusion reached. 
When the time fixed for the formal consideration of the subject by 
the resolution of June arrived, offers had been made by several other 
States, and it was determined to consider the whole matter in the 


order of the thirteen States then composing the government of 
the United States. This was in October, 1783. By a resolution passed 
on the 6th of tliis month, it was ordered that the question be taken, 
in which State buihlings shall l)e provided and erected for the residence 
of Congress, beginning with New Hampshire, and proceeding in the 
order in which they stand; and it was finally determined "that build- 
ings for the use of Congress be erected on or near the banks of the 
Delaware, provided a suitable district can be secured on or near 
the banks of said river for a Federal town; and that the right of soil 
and an exclusive or such other jurisdiction as Congress may direct, 
shall be vested in the United States." It was further determined that 
the place should be near the falls of the Delaware, and that a com- 
mittee should repair to that place, view the situation, and report a 
proper district for carrying out the design of the resolution. An 
eiiort was made to reconsider tins action of the Congress with the view 
to change the location so selected, but it proved fruitless. Thus as 
early as October, 1783, Congress had apparently settled the question 
of the location of the Capital City, and nothing seemed to be needed 
but the execution of the details to that end to secure a final deter- 
mination of this much mooted question. Subsequent events, however, 
prove how fallacious such conclusions were. 

While the location of tlie permanent residence of Congress was 
apparently thus early and easily decided, the fact was soon manifested 
that this action of Congress, instead of settling the matter, was but 
the introduction to a long and exceedingly ditiicult contest. It is inter- 
esting, particularly in view of the final determination of the question 
of the selection and establishment of the Capital of the Nation, to 
follow the Continental Congress in its varied and ever-changing leg- 
islation on this subject. While we know" now of how little import 
that legislation was; how" weak and indefinite was every action of 
a government that was without a single essential of sovereignty, the 
men who controlled the counsels of the Nation in those days were so 
distinguished in every way, and their discussions manifest so surely 
what was meant by the establishment of the seat of government, what 
was the significance in the minds of those early legislators of the final 
conclusion to build a capital, — not to make one of a city already con- 
structed, — that a history of the city of Washington cannot be complete 
without a review of this legislation, cursory and incomplete as it may- 
be, but suflicient to show what was done. The discussion was long, and 
the projects offered and considered various. It commenced imme- 
diatel}-. Resolutions were ottered declaring that the retention of the\(;70N /i/':c()M/-s ////■: c.i/'/7\i/.. 71 

territory near the falls of the Delaware was not satisfactory to a large 
number of the citizens of tiie States; that the pnr])Oses of the govern- 
ment would be better effected by the providing of buildings for tlie 
accommodation of Congress in two places, in which alternate sessions 
coukl be held. This proposition was deliberately considered, and with 
some immaterial amendment was adopted. It was determined that the 
alternate places of residence of Congress should be on the banks of 
the Delaware, as already provided, and on the banks of the Potomac, 
near the lower falls of that river, and that until buildings suitable for 
their residence should be erected at the places designated, such resi- 
dence should be temporarily, alternately, at equal periods of not 
more than one year and not less than six months, at Trenton and 
Annapolis. It is interesting to remark how speedily this proposition 
for alternate residences of Congress followed upon the adoption of 
the resolutions fixing that residence on the banks of the Delaware. 
Nothing is needed more than this to show how unstable any determi- 
nation of the question was. Fortunately, the experiment of holding 
temporary sessions of Congress at Trenton and at Annapolis soon 
proved a failure, and the impracticable scheme of having two permanent 
seats of government was not carried into effect. ISTo effort was made to 
erect buildings either at the falls of the Delaware or on the Potomac. 

Mr. Force, in his history of the permanent seat of government for 
the United States, from which much of what is here written is derived 

"Much sport was made in the newspapers of the plan of havino- 
two Federal towns. One writer, in alluding to the resolution of Con- 
gress of the 7th of August, to erect 'an equestrian statue of General 
Washington at the place where the residence of Congress should be 
established,' remarks, thiit some persons suppose there may be difficulty 
in carrying out this resolution if two seats of government should be 
established. But he suggests, that so far from there being any difficulty, 
it is easy, 'not only to comply with the spirit of the resolve respectino- 
the equestrian statue, but to make that very resoJve conducive to the 
scheme of the two Federal towns.' And in a lengthy communication 
he describes how tiiis may be done. 'The spirit and intention of the 
resolve respecting the equestrian statue,' he observed, 'was nothing 
more than this: that the said statue should always be where the House 
should sit. To effect which, nothing was necessary but to adjourn the 
statue whenever and wherever they should adjourn the House, which 
might easily be done by mounting it upon wheels. But this was not 
all; for if the horse should be constructed of a large size, and framed 


with tiiiil)ors like the hull of a ship, it would become a most conven- 
ient and proper vehicle to transport the members themselves, with 
their books, papers, etc., from one Federal town to another.'" 

He alluded, also, to the enormous expense of building two Federal 
towns, where one might be sufficient for the purpose. To obviate this, 
he proposed "that there should be two permanent places of alternate 
residence, agreeably to the late resolve, and but one Federal town; 
which town should be built upon a large platform mounted on a great 
number of wheels, and be drawn by a great number of horses." 

This fun of the olden times has been repeated in more modern 
davs, and the project of an enterprising citizen who proposed the 
removal of our proud Capital City has been caricatured in very much 
the same spirit that is exhibited in the extract from the newspaper of 
1783. A procession of the Capitol and the several department build- 
ings, mounted upon wheels, and drawn by horses over the mountains 
in a journey to the far West, illustrated the derision with which a 
l»roject to remove the Capital from its present residence was regarded 
by the people of to-day. 

This failure of the project to establish alternate residences of Con- 
gress resulted finally in an abandonment of all such schemes. But 
before this was effected, Congress, in response to resolutions to that 
etfect, appointed commissioners to visit the falls of the Delaware and 
the Potomac, and to report suitable places for the erection of the 
contemplated Federal buildings. These commissioners made report, but 
nothing more was done under tlie resolutions referred to. It may not 
be out of place to remark here, that the commissioners appointed 
to examine and report upon the site near the falls of the Potomac, 
in their report use the following language: "At Georgetown, how- 
ever, a little to the northward of the buildings, is a rising ground 
somewhat broken, but pleasantly situated, and commanding good water 
as well as other prospects. At Funkstown, about a mile and a half 
below Georgetown on the river, there is also a district which com- 
mands fine prospects. Some part of this is low, but the residue is 
high and pleasant. The committee have ordered a plan of each of 
these districts to be taken and transmitted to Congress." Tliis is very 
nearly what afterward became, and to-day is occupied as, the site of 
the National Capital. 

Again, Congress, by an ordinance of December, 1784, determined 
upon the selection of a place upon the Delaware River for the permanent 
residence of Congress, and commissioners were appointed to make a 
selection. This seems to have been all that was done, and the question 

\\.is///X(, /ox /U'X'OM/'S rill-: cirriwi. 7;^ 

of the iienuiuioiit seat of govoniiuont wa« left still uiKlctormiiK'd. It 
is not worth while to deal any fiirXlicr with the many motions ma<le 
toward the settlement of tliis mueli mooted question. No one matter 
seems to have occupied so much of the attention of Con<j;ress, nor to have 
hecn the suhject of so much discussion. Xothini;' was so often sul)mitted 
to tlie members of Congress for tiieir votes, so often decided, and so 
often reconsidered. There was no subject about which so many plans 
were devised and abandoned, and about which the separate States 
developed so many conflicting interests, as the single subject of the 
permanent residence of Congress. It is not deemed necessary, in these 
pages, to go into the details of the legislation of which we have 
records on this subject, because such legislation is not of itself im- 
portant, and because the results were for the most part of so little 
consequence. What has been said on this subject gives the only 
important measures that reached anything like a conclusion, while the 
unending motions, discussions, and votes upon the subject are left 
unnoticed because they are of little or no consequence. 

After the ordinance of December, 1785, nothing was done of any 
importance. Matters remained undisturbed, except by a few s[)asmodic 
efforts to direct the attention of Congress to a matter of which it had 
evidently become tired, and the whole subject was postponed to the care 
of the government that was to have charge of aflairs under the new 
Constitution. What has been said will serve to show that, throuofhout 
the whole of the history of tliis Congress of the Confederation, or the 
"Continental Congress" as it is frequently called, it was manifest, that 
great consequence was attached to the question of the selection of a 
permanent seat for the government — a Capital City, and that over such 
place or territory, which should be ample for the purposes for which it 
was designed, Congress should have and exercise exclusive jurisdic- 
tion, entirely exempt from the authorit}^ of any State ceding such 
territory. The matter of exclusive jurisdiction was always insisted 
upon, and no project was considered that did not involve the conces- 
sion of such jurisdiction. Though there was no provision on this 
subject in the Articles of Confederation, there can be no doubt that, 
had a permanent seat of government been then established, Congress 
would have assumed exclusive jurisdiction. It was offered bv the sev- 
eral States, and the proceedings of Congress show clearly that it would 
have been accepted. All this tends to show what was uppermost in 
the minds of the men of that day upon this subject of a Capital City, 
and as we proceed to the time when the various details of our free 
government found their consummation in our Constitution, it is inter- 


esting to observe what were the evident intention and meaning of 
the men who framed that Constitution, with respect to this particular 
matter. The idea of a great central Capital City was early developed, 
and its consummation was certain, and in keeping with the grandeur 
of the Nation. 

In 1787, the Federal Convention, called "for the express purpose 
of revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting such alterations 
and provisions as shall render the Federal Constitution adequate to 
the exigencies of government and the preservation of the Union," met 
at Philadelphia. This convention was composed largely of the men 
who had before served in the Continental Congress, and it was there- 
fore not surprising that early in its deliberations we find this matter 
of a permanent Capital the subject of earnest consideration and dis- 
cussion. Nor is it to be wondered at that men who had so long had 
the subject under discussion should tind little difficulty in reaching a 
conclusion about it. We find that in the draft of a federal govern- 
ment submitted by Mr. Pinckney, of South Carolina, provision is made 
that the legislature of the United States shall have power "to provide 
for the establishment of a seat of government for the United States 
not exceeding ten miles square, in which they shall have exclusive 
jurisdiction." Again, in a proposition referred to a standing com- 
mittee of eleven members was a proposition to confer upon Congress 
"the exclusive right of soil and jurisdiction over the seat of govern- 
ment," and linally a report from that committee as among the powers 
of Congress, "to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever 
over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may by cession 
of particular States, and the acceptance of the legislature, become the 
seat of government of the United States." This last proposition of 
the committee w^as accepted by the Convention and passed without 
dissent, and is found in the final revision of the Constitution, as it was 
referred to the States, and Ijy them ratified and confirmed. The exact 
language of the Constitution, as finally adopted, and ratified by the 
States, is found in Article I., Section 8, of that instrument, and is 
in the following words: 

"Tiie Congress shall have power to exercise exclusive legislation 
in all cases whatsoever over such district (not exceeding ten miles 
square) as may, by the cession of particular States and the acceptance 
of Congress, become the seat of government of the United States, and 
to exercise like authority over all places purchased, by the consent of 
the legislature of the State in wdiich the same shall be, for the erection 
of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock yards, and other needful buildings; 

\\.is///x(rroN n/':c().]//-:s ///a; ts 

and to eiiiic't all laws which shall he necessary and pi-o}»cr tbi- carrying 
into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by 
this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any 
department or officer thereof." 

Having thus determined, as part of the Constitution, in this }»ositive 
manner, that there should ])e a permanent seat for tiie government, over 
which Congress should have exclusive jurisdiction, the only question 
remaining before Congress was where this seat of government should 
be located. This was a very grave question, and gave rise to much 
and very serious debate. Some difficulty was at first experienced in 
determining where the Congress of the new government should hold 
its first meetings. This was, however, soon determined, and on the 
first Wednesday in March (the 4th), 1789, the day appointed for 
"commencing proceedings" under the Constitution, several members 
of both Houses assembled in New York; but there was no quorum 
until the 8th of April, when the votes for President and Vice-President 
were counted. On the 21st of April, Vice-President Adams took his 
seat as President of the Senate, and on the 30th of April General 
Washington was inaugurated the first President of the United States. 
Thus the government under the new Constitution was established upon 
a firm and certain basis. 

It was feared by many that the convening of the Congress at 
New York and the inauguration of the President at that city, which 
had oti'ered for the accommodation of the government most commo- 
dious, convenient, and elegant accommodations for the various Federal 
offices, would result in the permanent establishment of the seat of 
government in that city. Tliis was to be deplored, because a very 
large preponderance of opinion was opposed to the selection of a large 
city as the seat of government, but of New York particularly, as too 
remote from the center bf the then existing Union. Early in the 
session, however, one of the Representatives from Virginia presented 
to the House a resolution of the legislature of that State, i)assed in 
December, 1788, oftering for the acceptance of the Federal Govern- 
ment ten miles square of territory, or any lesser quantity, in any part 
of that State which Congress might choose, to be occupied by the 
United States as the seat of the Federal Government. About the same 
time an act of the Legislature of Maryland was presented, in which 
the State oftered for the acceptance of Congress ten miles square of 
territory, anywhere within its limits, for the seat of government. 
Before the close of the session, memorials were presented from the 
inhabitants of Trenton, in New Jersey, and Lancaster and Yorktown, 


in Pennsylvania, praying that the seat of government might be 
establislied in those towns. These several acts and memorials were 
ordered to lie on the table for future consideration. It was evident 
that the selection of a site for the permanent seat of government had 
lost none of its interest and importance, and it soon became apparent 
that it was the intention of the new Congress to bring the matter to a 
speedy and satisfactory determination. When the question was tinally 
presented to Congress as to which of the many places suggested should 
be determined on, a debate full of interest ensued, and many and vari- 
ous projects were offered and submitted to the votes of the members 
of the Senate and House. This whole matter is of so great interest, 
and is so important as showing how the final selection of the present 
site of the Capital City was brought about, that it cannot be amiss to 
spread at large on these pages a summary of the debates upon it, even 
at the risk of })roving tedious. 

On the 27th of August, 1789, in the House of Representatives, 
Mr. Scott, of Pennsylvania, moved "that a permanent residence ought 
to be fixed for the General Government of the United States at some 
convenient place, as near the center of wealth, population, and extent 
of territory as may be consistent with the convenience to the naviga- 
tion of the Atlantic Ocean, and having due regard to the particular 
situation of the western country"; and moved to make this motion 
the order of the day for the 3d of September. This was warmly 
debated, a number of memV>ers urging the postponement of the subject 
till the next session. After full discussion, during which it was said 
that no question could have a greater tendency to produce broil and 
dissensions, and that the government, ill-cemented and feeble as it was, 
might not withstand the shock of such a measure, the motion was 
agreed to by a vote of 27 to 23, and on the 3d of September the 
question was taken up, and the wdiole subject of fixing upon a place 
for the seat of government was tlirown open for debate. On the 7tli, 
three resolutions were adopted by the House: the first, the one ofi'ered 
by Mr. Scott, and already given; the second, offered b}- Mr. Goodhue, 
of Maine, "that the permanent seat of government of the United States 
ought to be at some convenient place on the banks of the Susque- 
hanna, in the State of Pennsylvania"; and the third, offered by Mr. 
Fitzsimmons, of Pennsylvania, authorizing the President to appoint three 
commissioners to select and purchase the site on the Susquehanna, and 
to erect, within four years, suitable buildings, and also authorizing a 
loan of $100,000 for the purpose; and on the 22d of September, a bill 
})ursuant to these resolutions was passed by a vote of 31 to 17. 

u .isj//\(;'/()\ /ij'X'oM/cs rnii c.irrr.iL. *i*i 

On the same da}' the bill was taken u[) in the Senate, and amend- 
ments were afterward made which radically altered its nature. On 
the 24th, the location on the Sas(j[uehanna was stricken out, and by 
the easting vote of the Vice-President, the following words were 
inserted: "In the counties of Philadelphia, Chester, and Bucks, and 
State of Pennsylvania, including within it the town of Germantown 
and such part of the northern liberties of the city of Philadelphia as 
are not excepted by the act of cession passed by the Legislature of 
Pennsylvania." On the 26tli, the bill passed (yeas, 10: nays, 7), and 
was returned, as amended, to the House of Representatives. 

In the House the contest had been almost wholly between the 
Susquehanna and the Potomac, and when the bill came back from 
the Senate so thoroughly altered, and only three days remaining 
till the time set for adjourning, strong efforts were made to postpone 
it to the next session. It was said that in all the long arguments 
which the question had drawn out, tlie place lixed on by the Senate 
had never been mentioned, and that the question the House was now 
called upon to consider was entirely new. The reasons which influ- 
enced the Senate to decide in favor of the Delaware do not appear, as 
that body sat with closed doors. The House proceeded with the bill, 
and the amendments of the Senate were agreed to on the 28th by a 
vote of 31 to 24, with a proviso, added on the motion of Mr. Madison, 
that the laws of Pennsylvania should continue in operation in the 
ceded district until otherwise provided by Congress. This proviso 
defeated the bill. It made action on it by the Semite again necessary, 
and when taken up the same day in that body its further consideration 
was postponed till the next session. The next (hiy (29th) Congress 

Before Congress met again, the Assembly of Virginia passed an 
act, ceding to tlie United "States ten miles square of her territory, and 
reciting the advantages of a location on the lliver Potomac above 
tide water, in wdiich the States of Pennsylvania and Virginia might 
participate. The Legislature of tlie State of Maryland had passed an 
act nearly a year before, instructing the Representatives of that State 
in the Congress of the United States, appointed to assendjle at Xew 
York, to cede to the Congress of the United States any district in 
that State of ten miles square which might be selected for the seat of 
government. Virginia ottered to advance $120,000 and Maryland 
$72,000 for the purposes of the Federal City, in case it should be 
established on the banks of the Potomac. 

At the second session of Congress, proceedings for cstal)lishing the 


seat of government originated in the Senate. The bill left unfinished 
at the preceding session was not again taken up, but a new one was 
introduced on the 31st of May, 1790, by Mr. Butler, of South Caro- 
lina, in which the place was left blank. On the 2d of June, this bill 
was referred to a coniniittee, consisting of Mr. Butler, of South Caro- 
lina; Johnston, of North Carolina; Henry, of Maryland; Lee, of 
Virginia; and Dalton, of Massachusetts. On the 8th, the committee 
made the following report: 

"That in their opinion, taking a combination of circumstances 
into consideration, the present session is a proper time for fixing 
upon the permanent residence of Congress and the government of 
the United States; and after due consideration, recommend that it be 
placed on the eastern or northeastern bank of the Potomac, 

"Your committee further recommend that such sums of money 
as may bo ofi'ered by the States for carrying this bill into effect may 
be accepted of; then the bill will read thus: 'And to accept grants of 
money or lands.' Your committee were of the opinion that Congress 
can best determine the time to be allowed for completing the buildings. 

" With respect to the temporary residence of Congress, your com- 
mittee, after weighing all the circumstances, considered the ground 
of choice to be so narrowed as to be fully in view of the Senate. 

"Your committee recommend that the Senate should agree wdth 
all the other parts of the bill." 

The opinion of the Senate was taken, whether it be expedient, at 
this time, to determine upon any place for the permanent seat of gov- 
ernment, and it was decided in the negative by the casting vote of 
the Vice-President. It was then ordered that the consideration of the 
bill be resumed, the report of the committee being rejected. 

A motion to insert "the easterly bank of the Potomac" was 
negatived by a vote of 9 to 15. "Baltimore" was proposed and lost 
— yeas, 7; nays, 17. "Wilmington, in the State of Delaware," was 
also moved and disagreed to. Several motions to postpone were 
made, also a motion to reject the first enacting clause, but none were 
agreed to. Without coming to any decision, a motion to adjourn was 

The subject was not resumed until the 28th of June. On that 
day, the Senate having under consideration a resolve of the House of 
Representatives of the 11th of June, "That when the two Houses 
shall adjourn, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of 
Representatives do adjourn their respective Houses to meet and hold 
their next session at the town of Baltimore," a motion was made and 

ir.i\///.v(;7'()jv BECOMES THE c.irrr.ii.. 79 

carried to postpone the consideration thereof to take up tlie "bill to 
determine the permanent seat of government ot the United States." 
The Senate then resumed the second reading of the hill. 

The representation of John O'Donnell, in behalf of himself and 
others, citizens of Baltimore town, stating that town to be exceedingly 
commodious and eligible for the permanent seat of the government of 
the United States, and the representation of Robert Peter, in behalf 
of himself and other freeholders and other inliabitants of George- 
town, for the same purpose, were severally rend. A motion to insert 
"Baltimore" in the bill was again made and rejected — yeas, 10; nays, 
15. It was then moved to insert the following words: 

"On the River Potomac, at some place between the mouths of the 
Eastern Branch and the Connogocheague, be, and the same is hereby, 
accepted for the permanent seat of the government of the United 
States: Provided, nevertheless, that the operation of the laws of the 
State within such district shall not be affected by this acceptance until 
the time fixed for the removal of the government thereto, and until 
Congress shall otherwise by law provide." 

This was passed by a vote of 16 yeas, 9 nays. The members 
voting in the negative were Messrs. Wingate, of jSTev/ Hampshire; Dal- 
ton and Strong, of Massachusetts; Stanton, of Rhode Island; Ellsworth 
and Johnson, of Connecticut; King and Schuyler, of New York; and 
Patterson, of New Jersey. "The place" was now determined upon, 
and this clause formed a part of the act finally adopted by both Houses 
of Congress and approved by the President, and after further amend- 
ment and an ineffectual eflbrt to strike out the words, "between the 
mouths of the Eastern Branch and the Connogocheague," and insert 
"within thirty miles of Hancock town," the bill passed on the 31st 
day of July by a majority of only two, fourteen voting in the aifirm- 
ative and twelve in the n'egative. 

July 2, 1790, the bill "for establishing the temporary and perma- 
nent seat of government," which had passed the Senate, was read twice 
in the House and committed. 

July 6, in Committee of the Whole, Mr. Sherman, of Connecticut, 
moved that the word "Potomac" should be struck out and "a district 
to include the town of Baltimore" be inserted; seconded by Mr. Burke. 
The subject was again fully debated with regard to the "temporary" as 
well as "permanent" seat of government. Mr. White, of Virginia, 
observed that, if this House was alone to be consulted, on the principle 
of accommodation, Baltimore might answer; bat when it was consid- 
ered that this bill originated in the Senate, in wliieli this place has 


been repeatedly rejected, it is evident that, if the clause is struck out, 
the bill will be lost. Mr. Lee, of Virginia, insisted that Baltimore 
is as far south as the place proposed, besides being exposed by its 
frontier position on the sea. "We are not ci»ntined b}' the bill," said 
he, "to a particular spot on the Potomac, but may lix upon a spot as 
far north as the gentleman from Connecticut wishes." Mr. Burke, of 
South Carolina, said there was no political necessity for removing the 
tem[)orary seat of government from iSTew York to Philadelphia. The 
measure would excite the most turbulent passions in the minds of 
the citizens. He thought it a very extraordinary measure. It is cal- 
culated to arrest the funding system, and throw everything into 
confusion. If the bill is passed in its present form, Congress will 
never leave IMiiladelphia. 

Mr. Lawrence, of New York, wished the motion might succeed. 
lie objected to the place proposed for the permanent residence. B3' 
the bill it is conceded that the place is not at present a suitable situa- 
tion. By what magic can it be made to appear it will be more proper 
at the end of ten years? He adverted to the funding business and 
other important matters which remained to be decided upon, and very 
strongly intimated that these questions were to be determined agree- 
ably to the fate of this bill. 

Mr. Stone, of Maryland, said all the question of dift'erence seemed 
to be whether Baltimore or the Potomac shall be the seat of govern- 
ment. If the amendment now proposed should take place, nothing 
would be done, and the business will be left in a very inauspicious 
state. He was therefore resolved not to be drawn off by any motion, 
amendment, or modification of the bill whatever. As a Marylander, if 
he saw a prospect of success, he would vote for the town of Baltimore; 
but as it respects the United States, he should vote for the Potomac. 
He considered the subject as one of the most painful and disagreeable 
that could be agitated, and he wished to have the business finally and 
uiuilterably fixed. 

Mr. Seney, of Maryland, said the interests of Maryland were to 
be sacrificed to those of the two adjoining States, and however flatter- 
ing it may seem to Maryland to fix the seat of government on her 
side of the l^otomac, the real advantages were, in a great measure, 
nugatory, as it would be but a very small portion of that State that 
would reap any benefit therefrom; the real advantages would undoubt- 
edly result to Pennsylvania. Besides, after the government shall have 
remained ten years in Philadel[)hia, the probability of quitting it for 
the Potomac appeared to be very slight indeed. 

w: IS/ //xerox n ECO nr/is ////•: c.i/>//\i/.. 81 

Mr. Scott, of Pennsylvania, observed, that from the town of Balti- 
more there was no water conveyance to the interior; but from the 
proposed site on the Potomac tiiere are two hundred miles of naviga- 
tion directly into the heart of the country. 

Mr. Madison, of Virginia, said, if any argument could be brought 
against the proposed place on the Potomac, it was its being too far 
northward; for the mileage south of the Potomac is twelve thousand 
seven hundred and eiglity-two miles, and to the north of it twelve 
thousand four hundred and twenty-two miles. If to this Rhode Island 
is added, it will be not more than equal. We have it now in our 
power to procure a southern position. We should hazard nothing. If 
the Potomac is struck out, are you sure of getting Baltimore? Ma}' 
no other place be proposed? Instead of Baltimore, is it not probable 
Susquehanna may be inserted? perhaps the Delaware? Make any 
amendment, and the bill will go back to the Senate. He urged not 
to consent to any alteration, lest the bill be wholly defeated, and the 
prospect of obtaining a southern position vanish forever. 

Mr. Gerry, of Massacliusetts, regretted that the subject of establish- 
ing the permanent seat of government had been brought forward, for 
it is ver}' evident that it has had a very pernicious influence on the 
great business of funding the public debt. If the present bill is carried 
into execution, a very great uneasiness will ensue. Those States who 
think that they shall be injured, it cannot be expected will then acqui- 
esce. He adverted to the sacritices which the Northern States are ready 
to make in consenting to go so far south as Baltimore, and contended 
that their explicit consent ought to be obtained before they are dragged 
still farther south. He ridiculed the idea of fixing the Government at 
Connogocheague, and did not think there was any serious intention of 
going to this Indian place. He considered the whole business as a 
mere maneuver. Baltimore holds out the only prospect of a perma- 
nent seat of government. 

Mr. Yining, of Delaware, attributed the embarrassments of public 
business to the assumption of State debts, and not to the subject of 

The committee rose and reported progress. 

The bill was again debated in Committee of the Whole the next 
day, July 7. Mr. White, of Virginia, adverted to the situation of the 
proposed place on the Potomac, and said that a line drawn from 
the Atlantic east and west to the extreme point mentioned in the bill 
would intersect the State of New Jersey and include the whole of 
Delaware and Maryland. He observed that, after the present ferment 


is subsided, the position will be considered as a permanent bond of 
union, and tlie Eastern States will find their most essential interests 
promoted by the measure. He adverted to the t'^ade of Massachusetts, 
which, he said, was greater to Virginia than to the whole Union 

The question being put for striking out "Potomac" and inserting 
"Baltimore," it was negatived, 23 to 37. 

Several other amendments were ottered and negatived without a 
division. Mr. Burke, of South Carolina, then made the following 
motion: "That the seat of government shall remain in ISTew York 
two years from last May; and from the expiration of that time to the 
year 1800, that the seat of government shall remain in Philadelphia." 
Before the question was taken, the committee rose. 

July 8, 1790, Mr. Burke's motion, after debate, was negatived, as 
also was a motion offered by Mr. Smith, of South Carolina, to erase 
the words, "at which place the ensuing session of Congress shall be 
field." The committee then rose and reported the bill without any 

July 9, the bill was taken up in the House, and a variety of 
amendments were ottered, but none were agreed to, a majority of the 
members being in favor of the bill, and not ^^'illing to jeopard its 
passage by any amendment whatever. Mr. Boudinot, of New Jer- 
sey, moved to strike out "Potomac" and insert "Delaware" — yeas, 
22; nays, 39. Mr. Ames, of Massachusetts, moved to strike out 
"Potomac" and insert "Germantown" — yeas, 22; nays, 39. Mr. 
Smith, of Maryland, moved to strike out "Potomac" and insert 
"between the Potomac and the Susquehanna" — yeas, 25; nays, 36. 
Mr. Lawrence, of New York, moved to strike out "Potomac" and 
insert "Baltimore" — yeas, 2(3; nays, 34. Mr. Gerry, of Massachu- 
setts, moved to strike out "Potomac" and insert the words, "purchase 
or," — yeas, 26; nays, 35. Mr. Gerry moved to insert a clause which 
should limit the commissioners in the expense to the sum appropriated 
in the bill — yeas, 26; nays, 33. Mr. Lawrence moved to add these 

words: ^''Provided the buildings shall not exceed the sum of 

dollars," — yeas, 26; nays, 32. Mr. Gerry moved that the words, 
"three commissioners, or any two of them," be struck out — yeas and 
nays not given. Mr. Tucker, of South Carolina, moved that the whole 
of the fifth section be struck out — yeas, 28; nays, 33. Mr. Burke, of 
South Carolina, moved to strike out "the first Monday in December 
next," and to insert "the first Monday in May, 1792,"— yeas, 28; 
nays, 32. Mr. Sliernnin, of Connecticut, moved that "Decendjer" be 


struck out before the word "next" aiul "Muy" inserted — yeas, 28; 
nays, 33. Mr. Smitli, of South Carolina, moved tliat the words, "at 
which place the next session of Congress shall be held," be struck 
out — yeas, 26; nays, 33. Mr. Smith, of Maryland, moved an amend- 
ment by which the public offices sliould be removed to the Potomac 
previous to the year 1800, provided the buildings should be prepared 
for their reception before that time — yeas, 13; nays, 48. Successive 
motions were then made, that the bill be read a third time on Monday 
next; that it be read a third time to-morrow; that the House now 
adjourn, — all of which were negatived. Every etibrt, either to defeat 
or postpone the bill being found unavailing, a direct vote was now 
taken, and it was carried by 32 yeas to 29 nays. The vote was as 

Yeas — Messrs. Cadwalader aiid Sinnickson, of New Jersey; Cly- 
mer, Fitzsimmons, Hartley, Heister, Muhlenberg, Scott, and Wyncoop, 
of Pennsylvania; Vining, of Delaware; Carroll, Contee, Gale, and 
Stone, of Maryland; Brown, Coles, Griffin, Lee, Madison, Moore, 
Page, Parker, and White, of Virginia; Ashe, Bloodworth, Sevier, 
Steele, and Williamson, of North Carolina; Sumter, of South Caro- 
lina; Baldwin, Jackson, and Matthews, of Georgia. 

Nays — Messrs. Foster, Gif^mer, and Livermore, of New Hamp- 
shire; Ames, Gerry, Goodhue, Grout, Leonard, Partidge, Sedgwick, 
and Thatcher, of Massachusetts; Huntington, Sherman, Sturgis, Trum- 
bull, and Wadsworth, of Connecticut; Benson, Floyd, Hathorn, Law- 
rence, Sylvester, and Van Rensselaer, of New York; Boudinot and 
Schureman, of New Jersey; Seney and Smith, of Maryland; Burke, 
Smith, and Tucker, of South Carolina. 

The bill was approved by President Washington on the 16th of 
July, 1790, and thus ended the seven years' struggle for the seat 
of government. The following is a copy of the act: 

"An Act for Establishing the Temporary and Permanent Seat of the 
Government of the United States: 

"Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Bejjrescnt- 
atives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That a 
district of territory, not exceeding ten miles square, to be located, ;is 
hereafter directed, on the River Potomac, at some place between the 
mouths of the Eastern Branch and Connogoclieague, be, and the same 
is hereb}', accepted for the permanent seat of government of the United 
States: Provided, nevertheless, that the operation of the laws of the State 
within such district shall not bo affected by tliis acceptance until the 


time fixed for the removal of the Government thereto, and until Con- 
gress shall otherwise by law provide. 

"Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the President of the 
United States be authorized to appoint, and by supplying vacancies 
happening from refusals to act or other causes, to keep in appointment 
as long as ma}' be necessary, three commissioners, who, or any two of 
whom, shall, under the direction of the President, survey, and by 
proper metes and bounds define and limit, a district of territory under 
the limitations above mentioned; and the district so defined, limited, 
and located shall be deemed the district accepted by this act for the 
permanent seat of government of the United States. 

" Sec. 3. And be it enacted, That the said commissioners, or any 
two of them, shall have power to purchase or accept such quantity of 
land on the eastern side of said river within the said district as the 
President shall deem proper for the use of the United States, and 
according to such plans as the President shall approve, the said 
commissioners, or any two of them, shall, prior to the first Monday 
in December in the year one thousand eight hundred, provide suitable 
buildings for the accommodations of Congress and of the President, and 
for the public offices of tlie Government of the United States. 

"Sec. 4. And be it enacted, That for defraying the expenses of 
such purchases and buildings, the President of the United States be 
authorized and requested to accept grants of mone}'. 

" Sec. 5. And be it enacted, That prior to the first Monday 
in December next, all oflices attached to the seat of government of 
the United States shall be removed to, and until the said first 
Monday in December in the year one thousand eight hundred shall 
remain at, the city of Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania, 
at which place the session of Congress next ensuing the present 
shall be held. 

"Sec. 6. And be it enacted, That on the said first Monday in 
December in the year one thousand eight hundred, the seat of gov- 
ernment of the United States shall, by virtue of this act, be transferred 
to the district and place aforesaid. And all oflices attached to the 
said seat of government shall accordingly be removed thereto by their 
respective holders, and shall, after that day, cease to be exercised 
elsewhere, and that the necessary expense of such removal shall be 
defrayed out of the duties on imposts and tonnage, of which a sufficient 
sum is hereby appropriated. George Washington, 

" President of the United States. 

"Approved July 16, 1790." 

U.IS///XGT()X n/CClKMfuS THE C.iriT.lf.. 85 

The section in the foregoing act of Congress by which it is pro- 
vided that the othccs of the Government were to he removed to and 
remain in Phihidelphia until the tirst Monday in December, 1800, 
caused much discussion, and was only passed after a great struggle. It 
was feared by some that if the Capital remained in Pliiladelphia for 
ten years, it would never be removed; but their fears were unwar- 
ranted by the event. 

In June, 1800, the public offices were transferred to the city of 
Washington, and opened there on the 15th of that month. On the 22d 
of N^ovember, 1800, the President, John Adams, in his speech at the 
opening of Congress, said: 

" I congratulate the people of the United States on the assembling 
of Congress at the permanent seat of their Government, and I con- 
gratulate you, gentlemen, on the prospect of a residence not to be 
changed. It is with you, gentlemen, to consider whether the local 
powers over tlie District of Columbia, vested by the Constitution in 
the Congress of tlie United States, shall be immediately exercised. If, 
in your opinion, this important trust ought now to be executed, you 
cannot fail, while performing it, to take into view the future probable 
situation of the Territory for the happiness of which you are about to 
provide. You will consider it as the capital of a great nation, advanc- 
ing with unexampled rapidity in arts, in commerce, in wealth, and in 
population; and possessing within itself those resources which, if not 
thrown away or lamentably misdirected, will secure to it a long course 
of prosperity and self-government." 

The House of Representatives, in their answer to the speech of 
President Adams, said: 

"The tinal establishment of the seat of National Government 
which has now taken place in the District of Columbia, is an event 
of no small importance in the political transactions of the country. A 
consideration of those powers which have been vested in Congress 
over the District of Columbia, will not escape our attention; nor shall 
we forget that in exercising these powers a regard must be had to 
those events which will necessarily attend the Capital of America." 

Time has shown that our ancestors were not wrong in the estimate 
they placed upon the importance of a Capital City, nor in tlieir 
anticipations of what that city was destined to Ijcconie. Speaking 
of the provision by which Congress is clothed with exclusive legisla- 
tive powers in the District of Columbia, Mr. Curtis, in his "History 
of the Constitution," says: 

" This provision has made the Congress of the United States the 


exclusive sovereign of the District ot" Columbia, wliicli it governs in 
its capacity of the legislature of the Union. It enabled Washington 
to found the city which bears his name, toward which, whatever may 
be the claims of local attachment, every American who can discern 
the connection between the honor, the renown, and the welfare of his 
country, and the dignity, safety, and convenience of its Government, 
must turn wdth affection and pride." 



The Act of Congress Approved July Ki, 17U0 — Appointnieiit of Conuiiissiuners — Presi- 
dent Washington's Pi-oclamation — Location and Surroundings of tlie District Chosen 
under Above Act— Description of the Site by John Cotton Smith — Extract from 
the //<'ra/'d — CarroUsburgh and Hamburgh — The Agreement with the Proprietors 
— The Act of Maryland — Conveyance of Lands to Trustees — Major Pierre Charles 
L'Enfant Selected to Prepare a Plan of the City — His Plan Approved — Thomas 
Jefferson's Part in This Matter — The Name, "City of Washington," Conferred 
—The Plan of the City Discussed — Major L'Enfant's Dismissal — Act of Congress 
Compensc\ting L'Enfant for His Services — Andrew Ellicott Succeeds L'Enfant — 
Completes the Survey of the District of Columbia — Close of the Rule of the 
Commissioners — Difficulties with the Original Proprietors — Washington's Letter 
in Reference Thereto — David Burns Still Obstinate — Finally Yields — Extracts 
from New York Daily Advertiser — Estimate of the Value of the Work of Those 
Who Selected the Site of the National Capital. 

THE organic act of Congress, approved by President Washington 
July 16, 1790, ordained that a district of territory not exceedino- 
ten miles square, to be located on the River Potomac, at some place 
between the mouth of the Eastern Branch of that river and of the 
Connogocheagne, should be accepted for the permanent seat of govern- 
ment of the United States. The President was to appoint three 
commissioners, who, under his direction, were to survey and by proper 
metes and bounds define and limit the territory or district required 
under and for the purposes of the foregoing organic act. All powers 
necessary to the purchase ov acceptance of the quantity of land within 
the territory prescribed, on the eastern bank of the Potomac, required 
according to plans to be approved by the President, were given to the 
commissioners mentioned, to the extent that such land was needed by 
the United States, for the provision of suitable buildings for the 
accommodation of Congress, and of the President, and the public 
offices of the Government. 

The letters patent appointing said commissioners read as follows: 

''George Washington, President of the United States, to all iijho shall see 

these jnesents, Greeting: 

"Know ye, that rcj)osing special trust and confidence in the integ- 
rity, skill, and diligence of Thomas Johnson and Daniel Carroll, of 



Maryland, and David Stuart, of Virginia, I do, in pursuance of the 
powers vested in me by the act entitled, 'An Act for Establishing 
the Temporary and Permanent Seat of the Government of the United 
States,' approved July 16, 1790, hereby appoint them, the said Thomas 
Johnson, Daniel Carroll, and David Stuart, commissioners for survey- 
ing the district of territory accepted by the said act for the permanent 
seat of government of the United States, and for performing such 
other offices as by law are directed, with full authority for them, or 
any two of them, to proceed therein according to law, and to have 
and hold the said offices, with all the privileges and authorities to the 
same of right appertaining, each of them during the pleasure of 
the President of the United States for the time being. 

"In testimony whereof, I have caused these letters to be made 
patent, and the seal of the United States thereto affixed. 

"Given under my hand at the city of Philadelphia, the 22d day of 
January in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and 
ninetv-one, and of the independence of the United States the fifteenth. 

"By the President, 

"George Washington. 

"Thomas Jefferson." 

In further pursuance of the act of Congress, approved July 16, 
1790, the President issued a proclamation designating the experimental 
boundary lines of the district to be acce[>ted for the permanent seat 
of o-overnment, and directing the commissioners to run the lines and 
survey the proper metes and bounds of said district. 

In this proclanuition, after reciting the acts of tlie States of Mary- 
land and Virginia and the act of Congress, he says: 

"Now, therefore, in pursuance of the powers to me confided, and 
after duly examining and weighing the advantages and disadvantages 
of the several situations, within the limits aforesaid, I do hereby 
declare and make known that the location of one part of said district 
of ten miles square shall be found by running four lines of experiment 
in the following manner: Running from the courthouse in Alexan- 
dria in Virginia, due southwest half a mile, and then a due southeast 
course till it shall strike Hunting Creek, and fix the beginning of the 
said four lines of experiment: 

"Then begin the first four lines of experiment at the point on 
Hunting Creek wliere the said southeast course shall have struck the 
same, and running the said first line due northwest ten miles; thence 
the second line into Maryland due northeast ten miles; thence .the 

p/-:RM,L\7L\"r c.irrr.iL s/ii'. s/c/./'X //•:/). 8!» 

third line due southeast ten miles; and thence the fourth line due 
southwest ten miles, to the heginning on Hunting Creek. 

"And the said four lines of experiment being so run, I do hereby 
declare and make known that all that [)art within the said four lines 
of experiment which shall be within the State of Maryland, and above 
the Eastern Brnnch; and all that part within the same four lines of 
experiment which shall be within the Commonwealth of Virginia, and 
above the line to be run from the point of land forming the upper 
ca[)e of the mouth of Eastern Branch due southwest, and no more, is 
now fixed upon and directed to be surveyed, detined, limited, and 
located for a part of the said district accepted by the said act of Con- 
gress for the [leruianent seat of the Government of the United States; 
hereby expressly reserving the survey and location of the remaining 
part of the said district, to be made hereafter contiguous to such part 
or parts of the present location as is or shall be agreeable to law. 

"And I do accordingly direct the said commissioners appointed 
agreeably to the tenor of the said act, to proceed forthwith to run 
the said lines of experiment; and the same being run, to survey 
and by proper metes and bounds to define and limit the part within 
the same which is hereinbefore directed for immediate location and 
acceptance; and thereof to make due report to me, under their hands 
and seals." 

It will be seen that the district was, by the act mentioned, con- 
lined within the limits bounded by the mouths of the Eastern Branch 
of the Potomac and a stream known as the Connogocheague, which 
emptied into the Potonuic in Washington County, in the State of 
Maryland, about forty miles above the Eastern Branch. This legis- 
lation conlined the district to be located to the territory north of the 
Potomac, and by its very terms excluded any selection within the State 
of Virginia. That State had, by the act of her legislature, ceded to 
the Government a territory ten miles square for the purposes of the 
General Government, all of which territory was of course situated 
south of the Potomac. President Washington does not seem to have 
regarded the restriction as binding upon those entrusted with the 
selection of the territory for the seat of government. It will be seen 
l)y his proclanuition, issued on the 22(1 of Januai-y, 1791, that he 
includes within the boundaries determined ujion by the district of ten 
miles square to l)e dedicated to the uses of the Government, a portion 
of the territory of the Commonwealth of Virginia lying south of the 
Potomac Kiver. This selection was afterward api)roved by Congress. 
That body, by an act a[>proved March 3, 1791, repealed all the provis- 


ions of the preceding act which limited the selection of the territory 
within which was to be established the seat of government to a district 
above or north of the Eastern Branch of the Potomac, and ordained 
that it should be lawful for the President to make as part of the said 
district "a convenient part of the Eastern Branch and of the lands 
lying on the lower side thereof, and also the town of Alexandria." 

The President had already, as will be seen, under the powers 
conferred upon him, appointed Thomas Johnson, Daniel Carroll, and 
David Stuart commissioners for surveying the district of territory 
accepted by the act of July 16, 1790, for the permanent se^it of the 
Government of the United States, and performing such other ofiices 
as by law were directed. Daniel Carroll, one of the aforesaid commis- 
sioners, being at the time one of the delegates appointed by the State 
of Maryland in the House of Representatives of the Congress of the 
United States, refused to act as commissioner; and hence there were 
only two commissioners on duty from that time until March 4, 1791, 
when Mr. Carroll's term of service in Congress having expired, a new 
commission was issued to liim, and he agreed to serve as commis- 
sioner. As soon as convenient after tliis, the President proceeded in 
person to the point designated for the seat of government, there to 
take an active part in what was to him the dearest project of the 
latter years of his life. In a letter to Daniel Carroll, dated March 
11, 1791, he says: 

"I write to you by this post in conformity with my promise so 
to do; but it is not yet in my power to determine whether I can 
set out on Monday or not. If I tind the roads do not mend much 
between this time and that, I shall not be anxious about beginning on 
that day, even if business should permit. As my tixing the day for 
meeting the commissioners at Georgetown must depend upon my 
departure from this place [Philadelphia], I cannot determine upon the 
former until the latter is decided. I shall write you again by Mon- 
day's post, and in tliat letter shall be able to say with certainty when 
I leave this city." 

Soon after this, that is to say, on the 28th of March, President 
Washington reached Georgetown, and on tlie 29th rode over the entire 
new district, in company with the three commissioners and the two 
surveyors, Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant and Andrew Ellicott. 

It will ])e interesting to accompany this distinguished party in 
their surve}' of the site selected by the wisdom of Congress for the 
future Capital of the yet infant Republic. To most of them the scene 
was not new, but to one or two of tliem at least we can suppose that 


this was their |irst view of its beauties. We can imagine the heights 
above Georgetown to be the point from which they first gazed upon 
the territory from which they were to select a site for the future seat 
of government. At their feet was the ah-eady thriving town of 
Georgetown, than which no town in this or any other country is 
more beautifully situated. Rising from the lliver Potomac, which 
formed the base of the town, it already partly occupied, and was 
destined in its gradual growth and improvement to occupy entirely, 
the heights that skirted and adorned that beautiful river. 

On their right was the river itself. Rising in tlie distant Alle- 
ghenies and running for many miles between the States of Maryland 
and Virginia with comparative placidity until joined by the Shenandoah 
at Harper's Ferry, it bursts througli the chain of mountains that has 
hitherto confined it, tearing the mountain from its summit to its base 
and hurrying away to the sea. For a while after this apparent declara- 
tion of its freedom from the restraint which the mountains had imposed 
upon its waters, its course is smooth. Again it encounters difKculties, 
and leaping over a steep, it forms what is known as the Great 
Falls of the Potomac. It rushes along, with rapids and cascades, 
amid grand and picturesque banks that are the admiration of all who 
view them, until finally reaching the town of Georgetown, it washes 
the shores of that town with waters so calm and deep that ships bring 
to its wharfs the commerce of the remotest regions of the earth. 
Flowing on, the river turns to the east, and widening as it goes till it 
assumes the appearance of a lake, describes a curve that forms a 
beautiful boundary to the lap of land that is finally selected as the 
abiding place of the National Capital. 

Here again it is met by the Eastern Branch, or Anacostia, then a 
navigable stream and one of the commercial highways of the new 
Republic; and so calmly and peacefully that it seems incredible that 
it has a short while ago been a tumultuous stream, full of wild leaps 
and grand cascades, it flows away ■ by the town of Alexandria and 
Mount Vernon, the home of Washington, and is finally lost in the 
waters of the Chesapeake Bay. 

Looking across the river, the heights of Arlington rise in view, 
commanding a most comprehensive view of the river, in themselves 
forming a beautiful boundary to the scene now gazed upon by the 
august party with so much interest. Far away to the south was 
the city of Alexandria, then a port of considerable importance, at 
whose wharves lay ships from all parts of the world, and destine<l 
— at least so thought President Waslii no-ton — to be the o-reat tide- 


water doorway to that immense western countrj^ which had ah'eady 
i;-iven evidence of its future importance. President Washington was 
not out of his reckoning; for this city, being the nearest and most con- 
venient port to the Northwestern Territory, woukl undoubtedly have 
furnished to that Territory- the most important outlet for its wealth, had 
not the application of steam to internal commerce brought about a 
revolution that no human wisdom could foresee. 

Turning from the river and looking toward the east, tlieir gaze 
encounters as the eastern boundary of Georgetown a considerable 
stream, flowing between romantic banks and adding greatly to the 
beauty of the landscape, known as Koclc Creek. Beyond this extends 
ail extensive plateau, bounded by the waters of the Potomac and the 
Eastern Branch, nearly level throughout its wliole extent, save as it is 
diversified by gentle elevations, nowhere of any great height, but still 
sufficient to provide commanding eminences for the future public 
buildings of tlie Capital City. Through this plateau at that day ran 
a considerable stream known as the Tiber, with low marshy banks. 
This stream ran from east to west, and had its mouth in the Potomac 
Kiver near what is now the foot of Seventeenth Street. South of this, 
extending to the bank of the river, was a plain, level nearly throughout 
its entire extent and divided in those early days into fields for agri- 
cultural purposes. Through this plain ran a branch of the larger 
stream known as the Tiber, and called St. James's Creek, having its 
mouth in the Eastern Branch at or near its confiuence with the main 
stream or river. Xorth again of the Tiber the land was rolling in its 
character, covered with trees and low undergrowth, and finally rising 
into high lands that formed a beautiful background to the beauties of 
the rural landscape. Far away to the east ran the Eastern Branch or 
Anacostia, forming with the Potomac a magnificent frame for what was 
then selected by these commissioners as the site for the seat of the new 
Government, and which was destined to be the location of a capital 
city so grand that the wildest dreams of the enthusiast failed to realize 
its splendors. The commissioners seem to have had no hesitation in 
adopting the site described, as the result of their labors under the act 
of Congress, and their descendants of to-day recognize and ai)preciate 
the wisdom that guided and controlled their deliberations. It is safe 
to say that nowhere, now tliat natural obstacles principally in the way 
of complete drainage are nearly, if not entirely, overcome, can there 
be found a site better adapted to the <1evelopment of the grand idea 
conceived by the distinguished engineer selected by President Wash- 
ington to prepare the plans of the Capital City of the United States. 


It is interesting in this connection to read what was said of tlie 
site of tlie city by a distingnished member of Congress from Connect- 
icut in the Sixth Congress, the first that held its sessions in the city 
of Washington. It is time this is written several years after the 
selection of the site and when some progress had been made in the 
erection of the public buildings, but so little had been done tliat 
the description fits in many respects the condition of things at the 
date about which we have been writing. 

"Our approach to the city [says Mr. John Cotton Smith] was 
accompanied with sensations not easily described. One wing of the 
Capitol only had been erected, which with the President's House, a 
mile distant, both constructed with white sandstone, were shining- 
objects in dismal contrast with the scene around them. Instead of 
recognizing the avenues and streets portrayed in the plan of the 
city, not one was visible, unless we except a road with two buildings 
on each side of it, called the New Jersey Avenue. The Pennsylvania 
Avenue, leading, as laid down on paper, from the Capitol to the 
President's Mansion, w\is then nearly the whole distance a deep 
morass, covered with alder bushes, which were cut through the widtli 
of the intended avenue during the then ensuing winter. Between the 
President's House and Georgetown a block of houses had been erected 
which then bore (and do now) the name of the Six Buildings. There 
were also two other blocks, consisting of two or three dwelling houses 
in different directions, and now and then an isolated wooden habita- 
tion; the intervening spaces, and indeed the surface of the city 
generally, being covered with shrub oak bushes on the higher grounds, 
and on the marshy soil with either trees or some sort of shrubbery. 
Nor was the desolate aspect of the place a little augmented by a 
number of unfinished edifices at Greenleaf's Point, and on an eminence 
a short distance from it,' commenced by an individual whose name 
they bore, but the state of whose funds compelled him to abandon 
them not only unfinished, but in a ruinous condition. There appeared 
to be but two really comfortable habitations in all respects within the 
bounds of the city, one of which belonged to Daniel Carroll, and 
the other to Notley Young, who were the former proprietors of a 
large portion of the land appropriated to the city, but wlio reserved 
for their own accommodations ground sufiicient for gardens and other 
useful appurtenances. The roads in every direction were muddy and 
unimproved. A sidewalk was attempted in one instance by a covering 
formed of the chips of the stones which had been hewed for the Cap- 
itol. It extended l)ut a little way, and was of little value; for in dry 


weather the sharp fragments cut our shoes and in wet weather covered 
them with mortar. In short, it was a 'new settlement.' 

•^ ^ -^ -^f- ^ ^ -^^ :^ % 

"Notwitlistanding the unfavorable aspect which Washington pre- 
sented on our arrival, I cannot sufficiently express my admiration of 
its local position. From the Capitol you have a distant view of its 
line undulating surface, situated at the confluence of the Potomac and 
its Eastern Branch, the wide expanse of that majestic river to the bend 
at Mount Vernon, the cities of Alexandria and Georgetown, and the 
cultivated fields and blue hills of Maryland and Virginia on either side 
of the river, the whole constituting a prospect of surpassing beauty and 
grandeur. The city has also the inestimable advantage of delightful 
water, in many instances from copious springs, and always attainable 
by digging a moderate depth; to which may be added the singular fact 
that such is the due admixture of clay and loam in the soil of a great 
portion of the city, that a house may be built of brick made of the 
earth dug from the cellars; hence it was not unusual to see the remains 
of a brick kiln near the newly erected dwelling house or other edifice. 
In short, when we consider not only these advantages, but wliat in a 
national point of view is of supreme importance, the location on a fine 
navigable river, accessible to the whole maritime frontiers of the United 
States, and yet rendered easily defensible against foreign invasion, and 
that by the facilities of internal navigation it may be approached 
by the population of the Western States, and indeed of the whole 
Nation, with less inconvenience than any conceivable situation, we 
must acknowledge that its selection by Washington as the permanent 
seat of the Federal Government afibrds a striking exhibition of the 
discernment, wisdom, and forecast which characterized that illustrious 
man. Under this impression, whenever, during the six years of my' 
connection with Congress, the question of removing the seat of gov- 
ernment to some other place was agitated, — and the proposition was 
frequently made, — I stood almost alone as a JSTorthern man in giving 
my vote in the negative." 

In an article published in a newspaper, the Herald, in Philadel- 
phia, under date of January 4, 1795, we find the following: 

"To found a city in the center of the United States for the pur- 
pose of making it the depository of the acts of the Union and the 
sanctuary of the laws which must one day rule all North America, is 
a grand and comprehensive idea, which has already become with pro- 
priety the object of public respect. In reflecting on the importance 
of the Union, and on the advantages which it secures to all the 


iiiliabitaiits of the LTiiitod States collectively, or to individuals, where 
is there an American who does not see in the esta])lishnient of a 
Federal town a national means for confirming forever that valuable 
connection to which the Nation is indebted for liberation from the 
Britisli 3'oke? The Federal City, situated in the center of the United 
States, is a temple erected to liberty; and toward this edifice will the 
wishes and expectations of all true friends of their country be in- 
cessantly directed. The city of Washington, considered under such 
important points of view% could not be calculated on a small scale; its 
extent, the disposition of its avenues and public squares, should all 
correspond with the magnitude of the object for which it was in- 
tended; and we need only cast our eyes upon the situation and plan 
of the city to recognize in them the comprehensive genius of the 
President, to whom the direction of the business has been committed 
by Congress." 

Within the limits of the territory so selected by the commissioners 
were two tracts that had been laid off for towns into squares and 
streets. They were called Carrollsburgh and Hamburgh. It does not 
appear that there were any improvements of importance on these 
projected town sites, except that, in the rates of fare prescribed by 
the early laws of the corporation of Washington for the govern- 
ment of hacks, such vehicles are allowed to charge for the conveyance 
of passengers from Greenleaf's Point to Hamburgh wharf twenty-five 
cents. Suflice it to say, that Hamburgh w^as in the western part of the 
city, and was laid out in lots and streets in the latter part of 1771; and 
that Carrollsburgh, which was in the eastern part of the city, on the 
banks of the Anacostia and James Creek, was subdivided in the year 1770. 

The commissioners seem to have been perfectly satisfied with the 
survey made by them of the site selected for the permanent seat of 
the Government. On the evening of the day when they, in company 
with the President, rode over the district submitted to them, a meeting 
was held for the purpose of effecting a friendly agreement between 
the property holders in the new district and the United States com- 
missioners, Washington's counsel on that occasion was of so great 
eftect that the general features of an agreement were settled, and the 
signatures of nineteen of the proprietors of the soil were appended to 
it the next day. By this means it may be said the rights and titles to 
property within the District and the city of Washington were deter- 
mined, and the great fact of a permanent seat of government finally 
settled. The agreement is in the language following: 

" We, the subscribers, in consideration of the great benefits we 


expect to derive from having the Federal City laid off on our lands, do 
hereby agree and bind onrselves, our heirs, executors, and administra- 
tors, to convey in trust to the President of the United States, or 
commissioners, or such persons as he shall appoint, by good and suf- 
iicient deeds in fee simple, the whole of our respective lands which 
he may think proper to include within the lines of the Federal 
City, for the purposes and on the conditions following: 

"The President shall have the sole power and directing of the 
Federal Citj-, to be laid off in what manner he pleases. He may 
retain any number of squares he ma}' think proper for public im- 
provement, or other public uses, and the lots onl}' which shall be 
laid off shall be a joint property between the trustees on behalf of 
the public and each present proprietor, and the same shall be fairly 
and equally divided between the public and the individuals as soon 
as may be after the city shall be laid off. 

"For the streets the proprietors shall receive no compensation; but 
for the squares, or lands in any form which shall be taken for public 
buildings, or any kind of public improvements or uses, the proprietors 
whose lands shall be so taken, shall receive at the rate of £25 per 
acre, to be paid by the public. 

"The whole wood on the lands shall be the property of the pro- 
prietors; but should any be desired by the President to be reserved 
or left standing, the same shall be paid for by the public at a just 
and reasonable valuation, exclusive of the £25 per acre to be paid 
for the land on whicii the same shall remain. 

"Each proprietor shall retain the full possession and use of his 
land until the same shall be sold and occupied by the purchasers of 
the lots laid out thereupon, and in all cases where the public arrange- 
ments, as the streets, lots, etc., will admit of it, each proprietor shall 
possess his buildings and other improvements, and graveyards, paying 
to the public only one-half the present estimated value of the lands 
on which the same shall be, or £12 \i)s. per acre. But in cases where 
the arrangements of the streets, lots, squares, etc., will not admit of 
this, and it shall become necessary to remove the buildings, improve- 
ments, etc., the proprietors of the same shall be paid tiie reasonable 
value by the public. 

"Nothing in this agreement shall affect the lots which any of the 
proprietors, parties to this agreement, may hold in the towns of Car- 
rol Isburgh or Hamburgh. 

"In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and seals 
this 30tli day of iVlarch, 1791." 


This agreeiuent was signed by Robert Peter, David Burns, James 
M. Liiigaii, Uriab Forrest, Benjamin Stoddert, Notley Young, Daniel 
Carroll of Diiddington, Overton Carr, Thomas Beall of George, 
Charles Beatty, Anthony llolmead, William Young, Edward Pierce, 
Abraham Young, James Pierce, William Prout, Eliphas Douglas, John 
Warring (the last two by their attorneys), and William King, 

The Legislature of the State of Maryland, by an act dated Decem- 
ber 19, 1791, ratified her cession of land to the United States for a 
Federal District, and after reciting the boundaries as given above, and 
stating that the territory has been called the ''Territory of Colum- 
bia," proceeds as follows: 

"And whereas, Kotley Young, Daniel Carroll, of Duddington, and 
many others, proprietors of the greater part of the land hereinafter 
mentioned to have been laid out into a city, came into an agreement 
and have conveyed their lands in trust to Thomas Beall, son of George, 
and John Mackall Gantt, whereby they have subjected their lands to 
be laid out as a city, giving up part to the United States, and subject- 
ing other parts to be sold to raise money as a donation, to be employed 
according to the act of Congress for establishing the temporary and 
permanent seat of government of the United States, under and upon 
the terms and conditions contained in each of said deeds; and many 
of the proprietors of lots in Carrollsburgh and Hamburgh having also 
come into an agreement, subjecting their lots to be laid out anew, 
giving up one-half of the quantity of their lots to be sold, and the 
money thence arising to be applied as a donation aforesaid, and then 
to be reinstated in one-half the quantity of their lots in the new 
location, or otherwise compensated in lands in a different situation 
within the city, by agreement between the commissioners and them; 
and in case of disagreement, that then a just and full compensation 
shall be made in money; "yet some of the proprietors of lots in Car- 
rollsburgh and Hamburgh, as well as some of the proprietors of other 
lands, have not, from imbecility and other causes, come into any agree- 
ment concerning their lands within the limits hereafter mentioned, but 
a very great proportion of the landholders having agreed on the same 
terms, the President of the United States directed a city to be laid 
out, comprehending all the land beginning on the east side of Rock 
Creek, at a stone standing in the middle of the road leading from 
Georgetown to Bladensburg; thence along the middle of the said road 
to a stone standing on the east side of Reedy Branch of Goose Creek; 
thence southeasterly, making an angle of sixty-one degrees and twenty 
minutes with the meridian, to a stone standing in the road leading 


from Bladensbnrg to the Eastern Braiieh ferry; thence south to a 
stone eighty poles north of the east and west line already drawn from 
the mouth of Goose Creek to the Eastern Branch; thence east parallel 
to the said east and west line to the Eastern Branch; thence with the 
waters of the Eastern Branch, and Potomac Kiver, and Rock Creek 
to the beginning, which has since been called the city of Washington; 
"And whereas, It appears to this General Assembly highly just 
and expedient that all the lands within said city should contribute, in 
due proportion, in the means which have already very greatly enhanced 
the value of the whole; and an incontrovertible title ought to be 
made to the purchasers, under public siinction; that allowing foreigners 
to hold land within said Territory will greatly contribute to the 
improvement and population thereof; and that many temporary pro- 
visions will be necessary till Congress exercises the jurisdiction and 
o-overnment over the said Territory; and, whereas, in the cession of 
this State heretofore made of territory for the Government of the 
United States, the line of such cession could not be particularly desig- 
nated, and it being expedient and proper that the same should be 
recognized in the acts of the State; 

'^ Be it enacted by the General Assembly of 3Iaryland, That all that 
part of the said Territory, called Columbia, which lies within the limits 
of this State shall be, and the same is hereby acknowledged to be, 
forever ceded to the Congress and Government of the United States, in 
full and absolute right and exclusive jurisdiction, as well of soil as of 
persons residing or to reside thereon, pursuant to the tenor and effect 
of the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution of the Gov- 
ernment of the United States: Provided, that nothing herein contained 
shall be construed to vest in the United States any right of property 
in the soil so as to affect the rights of individuals therein, otherwise 
than as the same shall or may be transferred by such individuals to 
the United States: And 'provided, cdso, that the jurisdiction of the laws 
of the State over the persons and property of individuals residing 
witliin the limits of the cession aforesaid shall not cease or determine 
until Congress shall by law provide for the government thereof under 
the jurisdiction in manner provided by the article of the Constitution 
before recited." 

May 9, 1791, John M. Gantt accepted the appointment of secretary 
to the board of commissioners, to be paid according to the judgment 
of the President, and on June 30, the same year, William Deakins 
was appointed treasurer. 

On or about the 29th of June, 1791, the original proprietors of 


the greater part of the lands whicli now constitute tlie city of Wash- 
ington made conveyance of them to trustees, to hold for the purposes 
of the Government. These trustees were Thomas Beall, of George, and 
John M. Gantt. By the deeds the lands belonging to said proprietors 
within the Federal Territory are conveyed, in consideration of five 
sliillings, to the trustees mentioned, to be by them taken and held in 
certain trusts in the deeds mentioned. These trusts are, that all such 
lands, or such parts thereof as may be thought necessary or proper, 
be laid out, togetlier with other lands within the Federal Cit}'^, with 
such streets, squares, parcels, and lots as the President of the United 
States for tlie time being shall approve, and by said trustees to be 
conveyed to the commissioners appointed under the act of Congress 
for establishing the temporary and permanent seat of the Government 
of the United States, for the use of the United States forever, all the 
streets and squares, parcels and lots, as the President shall deem 
proper for that purpose, to belong forever to the said United States; 
that, as to the residue of the said lots into which said lands shall 
have been laid off and divided, a fair and equal division shall be 
made, to be agreed upon, or, if a fair division cannot be obtained 
by agreement, then such residue shall be divided by giving to the 
owners of said lands every alternate lot. Having thus provided how 
these lands are to be divided between the proprietors of them and the 
trustees on the part of the Government, provision is made for the 
lands taken by the United States, and the disposition of the funds 
arising from such sales; first, for the payment to the original propri- 
etors at a fixed sum per acre tor the lands taken for the use of the 
United States, not including the streets and avenues, and next, to the 
purpose and according to the act of Congress establishing the tem- 
porary and permanent seat of government, such disposition to be 
subject to such terms and conditions as shall be thought reasonable 
by the President for regulating the materials, and buildings, and 
improvements on the lots generally in the city, or in particular parts 
thereof, for common convenience, safety, and order, such conditions to 
be declared before any sale of said lots. 

There were other provisions in the conveyance of these lands, with 
respect to the trees and wood growing thereon, and to the portion 
thereof occupied by the proprietors for their private residences and 
graveyards, having reference always to the public use and convenience. 

When President Washington returned from his famous tour of 
one thousand nine hundred miles through the South in his cream- 
colored chariot, during the progress of which a part of the letters above 


quoted were written, he found awaiting him at Mount Vernon that 
skillful French engineer, Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant. He was an 
educated soldier who had distinguished himself while serving as major 
of engineers in the Revolutionar}- War, and had been selected to lay 
out the plan of the new Federal City. Major L'Enfant was warmly' 
received by the President, and remained with him at Mount Vernon 
nearly a week, during which time the plan of the city was completely 
matured. Major L'Enfant's plan was very elaborate, and was fully 
set forth upon a map iinelj^ executed. lie followed the work of 
Le Notre in Versailles, the seat of the French Government buildings. 
His plan comprised broad transverse streets and avenues, numerous 
open squares, circles, and triangular reservations and parks, all of 
which were designed to be so drawn that from the intersection of any 
two or more streets and avenues the horizon would be visible. The 
locations of the public buildings were indicated, and everything was 
designed upon a most spacious scale. 

L'Enfant's design meeting with the approval of President Wash- 
ington and Mr. Jeiferson, it was formally adopted, and L'Enfant was 
engaged to superintend its execution. He had as assistant a young 
Pennsylvanian named Andrew Ellicott, who, together with his brother, 
had established the town of Ellicott's Mills in Maryland. He was re- 
markably intelligent and a competent surveyor, and by him the streets 
and squares were laid out. Before the erection of any building was 
permitted, an accurate survey was made and properly recorded, and 
to this survey all subsequent building operations had to conform, 

Mr. Jeiferson, the Secretary of State under President Washington, 
took an active interest in the plan of the new city; and indeed in 
everything that related to it. In a letter to a friend, that distinguished 
statesman says: 

"I received last night from Major L'Enfant a request to furnish 
him any plans of towns I could for his examination. I accordingly^ 
send him b}' this post plans of Frankfort on the Main, Carlsruhe, 
Amsterdam, Strasburg, Paris, Orleans, Bordeaux, Lyons, Montpelier, 
Marseilles, Turin, and Milan, on large and accurate scales, which I 
procured while in those towns respective!}'. The}' are none of them 
comparable to the old Babylon, revived in Philadelphia and exem- 
plified. While in Europe, I selected about a dozen or two of the 
handsomest parts of private buildings, of which I have the plates. 
Perhaps it might decide the taste of the new town, were they to be 
engraved and distributed gratis among the inhabitants of Georgetown. 
The expense would be trifling." 


Oil April 30, 1791, President Washiiio^toii, in his proclamation, 
referred to the city of Washington as the " Federal City." The name 
"City of Wasliington" was conferred upon it in September, 1791, as 
appears from the following letter from the commissioners of the Dis- 
trict to Major L'Enfant: 

"Georgetown, September 9,1791. 

"Sir: We have agreed that the Fe<leral District shall be called 
'The Territory of Columbia,' and the Federal City the 'City of Wash- 
ington.' The title of the map will therefore be, 'A Map of the City 
of Washington in the Territory of Columbia.' 

" We have also agreed tliat the streets be named alphabetically 
one way and numerically the other, the former to be divided into 
north and south, and the latter into east and west numbers from the 
Capitol. Major Ellicott, with proper assistance, will immediately take, 
and soon furnish you with, tlie soundings of the Eastern Branch, to 
be inserted in the map. We expect he will also furnish you with 
the proposed post road, which we wish to be noticed in the map. 

"We are respectfully yours, 

•'Thomas Johnson. 
"David Stuart. 
"Daniel Carroll." 

The plan of the Capital City is most undoubtedl}^ the result of 
the talent, industry, and zealous interest of Major L'Enfant He was 
evidently a man of great accomplishments, and it is marvelous, now 
that time has developed his grand plans, that he could liave conceived 
the erection of so magniticent a capital in what was then apparently 
a hopeless wilderness. But Major L'Enfant seems to have been as 
eccentric and impracticable in some respects as he was talented and 
capable in others. These qualities soon made his intercourse with the 
commissioners and others interested in the city unbearable, and his 
connection with its plans and progress terminated abruptly in March, 
1792, almost at the outset of his work. 

General Washington wrote of him, January 17, 1792, that he might 
be a useful man, if he could be brought to reduce himself within 
those limits which the commissioners, under their responsibility, were 
obliged to prescribe; but that at that time he did not appear to be 
in that temper. "Perhaps," he said, "when Mr. Johnson shall arrive 
here, he may be able to let him see that nothing will be required of him 
but what is perfectly reconcilable to reason and to a degree of liberty 
on his part." 


March 2, 1792, Mr. Jetferson, Secretary of State, wrote to the 

"It having been found impracticable to employ Major L'Enfant 
about the Federal City, in that degree of subordination which was 
lawful and proper, he has been notified that his services are at an 
end. It is proper that he should receive tlie reward of his past serv- 
ices, and the wish that he should have no just cause of discontent 
sus-o-ests that it should be liberal. The President thinks of 8?2,500 or 
$3,000, but leaves the determination with you. Ellicott is to go on 
and tinish laying off the plan of the ground and surveying and 
plotting the district." 

Major L'Enfant's dismissal caused aiiprehension in certain quarters 
that he and his friends would use what influence they possessed to 
injure the prospects of the new Capital, even Washington wanting that 
"the enemies of the enterprise will take advantage of the retirement 
of L'Enfant to trumpet the whole as an abortion." But the Major 
was loyal to the Government and to the city, and lived on the site 
and in the vicinity the rest of his days. G. A. Townsend, in his 
"Washington Outside and Inside," says of him that "he several times 
afterwards came under the notice of the Executive, and was a baffied 
petitioner before Congress." However this may be, an act of Congress 
was approved May 1, 1810, which was as follows: 

"An Act for the Relief of P. C. L'Enfant: 

'•'■Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America, in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of 
the Treasury be authorized and directed to pay P. C. L'Enfant, out 
of any money in the treasury not otherwise a}>i)ropriated, the sum of 
1666.66, with interest from the 1st day of March, 1792, as a 
compensation for his services in laying out the plan of the city of 

At this late date and in the presence of the fruition of his great 
plan, it is not difficult to draw a veil over the weaknesses and foibles 
of this brilliant and enthusiastic Frenchman. He had manifested his 
o-allantrv on the battlefields of the Revolution. lie showed to the 
world how great was his faith in the stability of our institutions and 
the future progress of his adopted country in the plan he devised for 
its future Capital, and his loyalty never flagged under the pressure of 
what must have seemed to him ingratitude and neglect. Somewhere 
in our beautiful city there will some day arise a proper monument to 
the man who deserves so much at the hand of everv true American. 


During the year 1702, the conirnissioiiers employed Andrew Ellicott 
to survey the boundary lines of the Federal District, and on January 
1, 1703, he made the following report of the survey to them: 

"It is with singular satisfaction that I announce to you the com- 
pletion of the survey of the four lines comprehending the Territory 
of Columbia. These lines are opened and cleared forty feet wide; that 
is, twenty feet on each side of the lines limiting the Territory; and in 
order to perpetuate the work, I have set up square milestones, marked 
progressively with the number of miles from the beginning on Jones's 
Point to the west corner; thence from the west corner; thence from 
the north corner to the east corner, and thence to the place of begin- 
ning on Jones's Point, except as to a few cases where tlie miles 
terminated on a declivity or in water; in such cases the stones are 
placed on the nearest firm ground, and their true distances in miles 
and poles marked on them. On the sides facing the Territory is 
inscribed, 'Jurisdiction of the United States'; on the opposite sides of 
those placed in the State of Virginia is inscribed 'Virginia,' and of 
those in the State of Maryland is inscribed 'Maryland.' On the fourth 
side is inscribed the year and the present position of the magnetic 
needle at the place. With this yon will receive a map of the four 
lines, with a half mile on each side, to which is added a survey of the 
waters in the Territory atid a plan of the city of Washington." 

The rule of the District commissioners over the city of Washing- 
ton came to a close by the abolishment of the bourd in 1802, and the 
appointment of a superintendent. In the meantime, the Government 
of the United States was removed to Washington, Congress first 
convening there ISTovember 22, 1800, during the presidency of John 
Adams. Legal jurisdiction over the District of Columbia was assumed 
by Congress February 27, 1801, and the laws of Maryland and Virginia 
were declared in force. The city of Washington was incorporated by 
a Congressional enactment passed May 3, 1802, by which act the 
appointment of the mayor was vested in the President of the United 
States, and there were established two branches of the City Council, 
the members of which were elected by the people on a general 

By this act tlie city of Wasliington was definitely established as 
a city, and was clothed with powers of municipal government. Its 
progress to this point had been slow, and attended with many and 
very serious difficulties; so many, indeed, that nothing but the great 
faith of the men who assisted in its foundation, in the future growth 
and development of the country, would have insured success. These 


difficulties were to be found in embarrassments growing out of national 
legislation, to obstacles thrown in the way of the city's progress by 
movements in Congress, and by the ceaseless opposition, in some 
quarters, of the public press. In this account of these matters we 
have principally to do with the difficulties presented by the persons 
who were proprietors of the lands to be occupied, and we shall find 
that these, notwithstanding the early acquiescence of the proprietors 
in the proposed plans, were in some instances of a serious character, 
and were calculated to discourage, and, indeed, did for a while 
dishearten, the commissioners who had the work in charge. 

Almost immediately after the meeting at Georgetown, which 
resulted in the agreement with the original proprietors of the lands 
to be occupied by the Federal City, General Washington took steps to 
procure from the State authorities of Virginia the funds voted by 
that State to aid in the erecting of the city. It appears from a letter 
written by him as early as May 7, 1791, to the commissioners, that 
difficulties were already obstructing the progress of those gentlemen; 
for he says, writing from Charleston: "I have received your letter 
of tiie 13th of last month. It is an unfortunate circumstance in the 
present stage of the business relating to the Federal City, that diffi- 
culties unforeseen and unexpected should arise to darken, perhaps to 
destroy, the fair prospect which it presented when I left Georgetown, 
and which the instrument then signed by the combined interest [as it 
was termed] of Georgetown and Carrollsburgh so plainly describes. 
The pain which this occurrence occasions me is the more sensibly felt, 
as I had taken pleasure during my journey throughout the several 
States to relate the agreement, and to s[)eak of it on every occasion 
in terms which applauded the conduct of the parties, as being alike 
conducive to the public welfare and to the interests of individuals. 
. . . When the instrument was presented, I found no occasion to add 
a word with respect to the boundary, because the whole was surren- 
dered upon the conditions which were expressed. Had I discovered 
a disposition in the subscribers to contract my views, I should then 
have pointed out the inconveniences and impolicy of the measure. 
Upon the whole, I shall hope and expect that the business will be 
suffered to proceed, and the more so as they cannot be ignorant that 
the further consideration of a certain measure in a neighboring State 
[alluding to the payment of the funds voted by Virginia] stands 
postponed; for what reason, is left to their own information and 

lie alludes in this connection by name to Messrs. Young, Peter, 

PF.A'M.iXRxr cAPJT.ii. s/TR srj.r.cTF.n. 105 

Liiigiiii, Forrest, and Stoddcrt us tlic discontented pro[»rietors. IIow- 
cvcr, it appears that after the difficulties liad been overcome, negotiations 
were effected witli tolerable ease with all the proprietors except David 
Burns. With hini the cQunnissioners tailed to effect any arrangements 
tor the surrender of his property, and the President was told tliat lie 
alone could bring him to terms. The farm of Mr. Burns lay directly 
south of where the President's House now stands, and extended east 
as far as the Patent Office. It contained six hundred acres, and was 
patented to William Langworthy by an instrument dated July 5, 1681. 

Upon the failure of the commissioners. President Washington made 
his way to the Burns cottage, and causing Uncle David to sit down 
on a rustic seat under a clump of trees, used all his powers of 
persuasion to bring about a sale. But "obstinate Mr. Burns," as 
President Washington often called him afterward, yielded not a jot. 
Washington's efforts a[)pear to have been repeated several times, and 
upon one of these occasions, when Washington was trying to convince 
him of the great advantage it would be to him. Uncle Davy testily 
replied : 

"I suppose you think that people here are going to take every 
grist that comes from you as pure grain; but what would you have 
been if you had not married the rich Widow Custis?" 

At lengtli, after frequent interviews, Washington lost his patience. 
lie gave Mr. Burns to understand that he had been authorized to 
select the location of the i!^atioual Capital, and said: "I have selected 
your farm as a part of it, and the Government will take it; and I 
trust you will, under the circumstances, enter into an amicable agree- 

When the President asked again, " Upon what terms will you 
surrender your plantation?" Mr. Burns replied, "Upon any terms that 
your Excellency may choose to name." 

In the Xew York Daily Adcertiser, a newspaper of tliat day, under 
date of February 24, 1789, appeared a communication from Baltimore, 
which was as follows: 

"There are already .subscribed for the erecting of buildings in this 
town for the use of Congress, twenty thousand pounds. When we 
reflect on the present state of population in the United States, nothing 
can be more preposterous and absurd than the idea of fixing the seat 
of Congress in a village, or the raising a new city in a wilderness for 
their residence. Before we give in to such fancies, we should consider 
whether we have such a surjtlus of people and trade as is necessary 
for the erection and maintenance of a new city. If we have not, the 


now city must necessarily draw from onr present towns their wealth, 
ti'ade, and people to compose its greatness. I believe no considerate 
man will venture to say that a new city can be established b}^ any 
other means than by attracting the wealth, trade, and inhabitants of 
the old ones; or that it is consistent with the interests of the United 
States to adopt a measure so pregnant with injury and desolation. The 
contest for the seat of Congress will, therefore, and must necessarily, 
be between Nev/ York and Baltimore." 

The following piece of doggerel from one of the papers of the 
day exhibits the feeling which })ervaded the many communications 
with wdiich the city pa[)ers were then Hooded, in relation to the 
removal of the Government from New York, where the Council had 
gone to considerable expense in titting up the City Hall for the recep- 
tion of Congress. It stood in Wall Street, at the head of Broad, the 
site of the present Custom House. 


"Well, Nanny, I'm sorry to say, since you writ us 
The Congress and court have determined to quit us. 
And for us, my dear Nanny, we're much in a pet, 
And hundreds of houses will be to be let. 
Our streets, that were quite in a way to look clever. 
Will now be neglected, and nasty as ever. 
Again we must fret at the Dutchified gutters. 
And pebble-stone pavements, which wear out our trotters. 
My master looks dull, and his spirits are sinking; 
From morning till night be is smoking and thinking, 
Laments the expense of destroying the fort, 
And says your great people are all of a sort. 
He hopes and he prays they may die in a stall, 
If they leave us in debt for Federal Hall. 
In fact, he would rather saw timber, or dig. 
Than see them removing to Connogocheague, 
Where the houses and kitchens are yet to be framed, 
The trees to be felled, and the streets to be named." 

It will be remembered that General Washington himself, when 
the insubordination and intolerable conduct of Major L'Enfant had 
rendered that officer's dismissal imperative, expressed his fears that 
the friends of the discharged engineer would trumpet the whole 
plan as an abortion, and do all tliey could to hinder the successful 
completion of his design in regard to the Capital City. These were 
only a few of the occurrences that combined to dampen the ardor 
and chill the enthusiasm of the men who had undertaken the work of 


building up a great city in a forbidding wilderness. It was a gigantic 
undertaking; and when we consider tlie circumstances that surrounded 
the project, the conditions with respect to all the appliances that 
entered into the successful erection of such a city at that early 
day, while we are amazed at the conception of the idea, we arc 
more amazed at the spirit and energy which carried that idea into 
practical etfect. It must be remembered that two of the States, at 
le;ist, had offered towns — one its State capital, with such concessions 
as to jurisdiction as (/ongress might deem essential — as places in 
which might be arranged the permanent residence of the Government; 
and it is reasonable to conclude, from what we know of the actions 
of other States and cities, that no difiiculty would liave been encoun- 
tered, liad Congress manifested a desire in that direction, to have 
found not only a tit residence prepared to hand, but also commodious 
and titting buildings for the accommodation of the Federal offices. 
But Congress feared most of all things the unbridled license of a 
mob. A lesson had been taught by those mutinous soldiers at Phil- 
adelphia, and by the timid, irresolute action of the authorities of that 
city and the State of which it w^as a part, that could not be erased 
from the minds of the men who had the affairs of the iSTation in their 
hands. No argument, no persuasion, could induce them to subject 
themselves again to that peril. These and other motives were so 
controlling in their effects that, turning a deaf ear to harsh criticism, 
doleful predictions, and public ridicule, they persisted in their work, 
and upon that beautiful lap of earth on the banks of the Potomac, in 
the midst of forbidding swamps, country brooks, thriving corntields, 
and all the desolation we can imagine must have marked the spot in 
those days, they planned the city, of which more need not be said 
than that it is worthy of the name it bears. We who live to-day 
cannot fail to have our * pride as Americans amply gratified as we 
gaze on the beauty and grandeur of our country's Capital. Here has 
Congress completed near!}' a century of its deliberations, free from 
interruption save only when a band of ruthless invaders destroyed 
the public buildings, disturbed for a short time the peace of the com- 
munity, and sent their own names dowMi to posterity with a heritage 
of unending disgrace. 



The Eai'ly Settlers of tlie District of Columbia — Daniel Carroll, of Duddington — David 
Burns — Marcia Burns — John P. \'an Ness — Notley Young — Benjamin Oden — 
Robert Peter — The Removal of the Government to Washington — Ottlcers Who 
Came Here at That Time — Samuel Meredith — Thomas Tudor Tucker — Joseph 
Nourse — Richard Harrison — Peter Hagner — John Steele — Gabriel Duval — William 
Simmons — Thomas Turner — Abraham Bradley, Jr. — Thomas Munroe — Roger C. 
Weightman — Stephen L. Hallett — Dr. William Thornton — George Hadfield — Ben- 
jamin Henry Latrobe — Pierre Charles L'JCnfant — Samuel Harrison Smith — Andrew 
Ellicott — Benjamin Bannecker. 

IX our last chapter, we have shown how the site upon which the 
Capital City was to be erected was finally determined upon, and 
how the Government was established in what was to be its future resi- 
dence. Before [)roceeding further in the history of the city, it appears 
appropriate to dwell for a few moments upon the history of those men 
who were the proprietors of the plantations selected for the proposed 
site of the city. The entire area selected for this site of the seat of 
governtnent belonged ap[)arently to a few proprietors — we mean the 
entire area north of the Potomac; for, inasmuch as that portion in 
Virginia which, for about half a century, belonged to the Federal 
District was, in 184(3, ce<led back to that State, it is not deemed 
necessary in this connection to make special mention of the original 
proprietors of the lands once included in the District south of the 
Potomac River. 

First among the men owning the lands originally forming a part 
of and still constituting the District of Columbia, was Daniel Carroll, of 
Duddington. lie was a line specimen of the gentleman of the regime 
— pure, patriotic, hospitable, and kind. He was a delegate from Mary- 
land to the Continental Cono-ress from 1780 to 1781, being first elected 
when only thirty years of age, and was a signer of the Articles of 
Confederation, and also of the Constitution of the United States. 
From 1789 to 1791, he was a Representative in Congress from 
Maryland, and was appointed by General Washington one of the 
commissioners for surveying and limiting the site of the Federal 
District, and entered upon tlie duties of that office immediately upon 


the expiration of his term as He[)rosoiitative. llo was the owner of 
a considerable tract of land within the limits of the territory selected 
by General Washington for the Federal District, which was allotted 
to him in the partition of a larger tract l)elonging to the historical 
Carroll family, and known as Carroll Manor, lie resided upon his 
farm in a substantial, and for tliose days, elegant residence. His 
mansion is spoken of b}' those who wei-e first aniong the officials of 
the General Government to come to the new Ca[)ital from Philadel[)hia 
as being really comfortable in all respects, surrounded by a garden 
and other useful appurtenances. He was the owner of all that portion 
of the District bordering upon tlie Anacostia or Eastern Branch of 
the Potomac, and embracing within its limits the hill upon which the 
Capitol building was subsequently erected, and stretching out to and 
beyond the boundary of the city in an easterly direction. His posses- 
sions included the town of Carrollsburgh, so named from a project 
of forming a town in the neighborhood, but which i)roject was of 
course swallowed up in the far greater project of the establishment 
of a city, which was to be at the same time the capital of a nation; 
though so far as our information goes, this town site was improved by 
the erection thereon of some few dwelling houses. But if this state- 
ment should hereafter be proved slightly incorrect, the fact will still 
remain that the town itself was projected as early as 1770, and it is a 
matter of record among the ancient land records of Prince George's 
County, Maryland, that at that early day the town was subdivided into 
village lots, and the owners of the town site were authorized ])y said 
deeds to establish a town thereon, to be named Carrollsburgh, they 
themselves being known as grantees of Duddington Manor and Dud- 
dington Pasture. These grantees were Charles Carroll, Jr., Henry 
Rozer, Daniel Carroll, and Notley Young. 

The land of Daniel 'Carroll, of Duddington, was beautifully situ- 
ated upon the high table land that skirted the low grounds between 
Georgetown and the Anacostia. They included, as has been said, the 
hill upon which tiie Capitol building was afterward erected, and were 
evidently selected for the site of that building because they offered the 
most eligible location for that purpose, and perhaps because they were 
above the malarial influences of the marshy lands upon either bank 
of the Tiber. The fact that the Capitol building has for its eastern 
front its most imposing presentation, would seem to indicate that its 
designers anticipated that the cit}' would flrst extend in that direction. 
In addition to this, the fact that the Anacostia or Eastern Branch was 
a stream navigable for many miles of its course, and that upon this 


stream at that early da}' was selected a site for a navy yard and an 
arsenal, both of which were expected to be of very considerable im- 
portance in the future growth of the city, also points to the existence 
of the same anticipation. 

All these things combined to give to the lands of Daniel Carroll, 
of Duddington, the very greatest importance in connection with the 
future development oi the city, and it is not singular tiiat all these 
circumstances combined should invest this tract of land with great 
speculative value in the estimation of its proprietor. It is not to be 
wondered at, then, that this worthy gentleman, trusting to what he 
considered the superiority of his lands over those of others, should 
have placed so high a price upon them that parties seeking building 
sites within the influence of the Federal Government were driven to 
seek other portions of the city upon which to build. The result was, 
that Mr, Carroll failed to make sales of his lands so beautifully 
situated, and the city was driven away from his property, to seek a 
permanent location on lands that were considered of little or of no 
possible value, far away to the westward. This was Mr. Carroll's great 
mistake; for the taxes levied upon his unimproved property involved 
him in difficulties which he never entirely overcame. 

Another of the original proprietors of the lands within the limits 
of the Federal District was David Burns, to whom reference has been 
made in the preceding chapter. So far as is known, he was a humble 
Scotchman, who had inherited a considerable tract of land from his 
ancestors, and who lived the life of a simple farmer, tilling the soil 
for his daily bi'ead, with the assistance of his slaves. Attaching to 
him was little or nothing of the prestige which dignified his neighbor 
of whom we have been speaking. lie was evidently a man of but 
little consideration at the time of the selection of this location for the 
Federal District. However, he held on to his possessions with such 
obstinacy as to yield only when he became convinced that the power 
of the Government of the United States would be used to dispossess 
him, unless he should voluntarily agree to part with them on reason- 
able terms. His lands were very considerable in extent, embracing the 
site of the President's House and, in fact, a very large portion of 
the future Capital which lies nearest to Georgetown.- The several 
department buildings now stand on what was once David Burns's estate 
or patrimony. The}' also included the grounds south of the President's 
House, bordering on the Potomac and the Mall, as it afterward came 
to be called. The southern border of the Burns plantation was south 
of Tiber Creek and included that stream, and it extended northward 

rn)XERR LIFE. Ill 

beyond rcmisylvaniu Avenue. Tlii.s became, within u shoi-t time, the 
most important part of tiie city of Washington. Besides being a 
planter and owning numerous slaves, David Burns was a justice of the 
peace. lie lived in a small cottage, wliich stood a little back from 
the river, on the square now lying between Seventeentli and Eighteenth 
streets. When President Washino;tou came to select David Burns's 
})atrimon3' for a portion of the seat of National Government, Mrs. 
Burns had but recently died, and Mr. Burns was bringing up his two 
children, a son and a daughter just approaching manhood and 
womanliood. The young man was intended for the law, but his 
health failing, he died soon after his mother, leaving young Marcia 
Burns the wealthiest as well as one of the most beautiful women in 
the land. The precise period of the death of David Burns is not now 
known, but it must have been in the early spring of 1802. Of the 
many suitors for his daughter's hand was John P. Van Ness, then a 
member of Congress from New York, a member of that aristocratic 
family occupying the magniliceut country seat of Linden wald, subse- 
quently owned by President Martin Van Buren, to whom she was 
married on the 9th of May, 1802, shortly after her father's deatli, 
which it is believed hastened her decision. 

One of the first acts of General John P. Van Ness, as he after- 
ward came to be known, after his marriage with the beautiful heiress 
of David Burns, was to erect a most elegant mansion on or near the 
site of the ancient cottage, paying therefor out of the sales of lands to 
individuals and to the Nation. In its day, it was the most beautiful man- 
sion in the United States, and was at the same time the most expensive 
and the most hospitable. It was the first in which both hot and cold 
water were carried to all the chambers. Its cost was $75,000. La- 
trobe, the architect of the Capitol, drew the plans and superintended 
its erection. Beneath its* spacious basements are the largest and cool- 
est wine vaults in the country, and it was in these dark recesses that 
it was rumored that it was the original intention of the conspirators 
who assassinated President Lincoln to conceal him, had they succeeded 
in their original plan of capturing him alive. Thus, for more reasons 
than one, the memory of this elegant and hospitable mansion is indis- 
solubly connected with the progress, preferment, and history of the 
city of Washington. 

It is matter of regret that we know so little of Notley Young, 
whose lands embraced that portion of the city south and southeast of 
those of David Burns. They bordered on the Potomac, extending 
down to the point where the Potomac and Anacostia meet, otherwise 


known as Greeiileaf's Point. All that appears to be known of Mr. 
Yonng- is, that, at the time of tlie selection of his estate as a portion 
of the Federal Cit}^ he lived in a handsome residence, surronnded by 
the most elegant grounds in this region. This residence is referred to 
by Mr. John Cotton Smith, one of the members of tlie first Congress 
that assembled in Wasliington, as one of the most comfortable resi- 
dences of the locality. Mr. Young, like Daniel Carroll, had some 
difiicultj' with the autocratic and irascible Frenchman, Pierre Charles 
L'Enfant, arising out of the fact that his residence occupied one of 
the streets of the city, as laid out by that great engineer. 

Of the other original proprietors of the lands forming the Federal 
District, Samuel Davidson, of whom we know but little, resided at 
Georgetown. The lands belonging to him embraced that portion of 
the city now lying between ISTinth and Seventeenth streets north 
of Pennsylvania Avenue — at this time the site of many magnificent 
private residences. 

About Benjamin Oden, whose property was bounded by what was 
known as Goose Creek, a continuation of the Tiber, and embraced 
the property upon which is now situated the Baltimore & Ohio Rail- 
road Depot, and several adjacent squares, we know almost notliing. 

Conspicuous among the owners of property within the District 
was Robert Peter, who resided in Georgetown, and who was one of 
the men who offered to the Continental Congress the town of George- 
town as the site for the Capital City. The lands belonging to him 
embraced a large portion of that now beautiful quarter of the city 
intersected by Massachusetts and Connecticut avenues, where are found 
many of the finest modern residences. 

It is unfortunate that we have so little information of a reliable 
nature, and that is of interest to the general reader, concerning the 
men who were the original proprietors of the lands from which the 
District of Columbia was selected. There were also a number of other 
})ro}irietors of whom we have comparatively no knowledge. Their 
holdings were, however, comparatively small, and it is not deemed 
essential to attempt any further account of them. 

The first duty imposed upon those who selected the site for a 
Federal District was the preparation of it for the residence of the 
Government. The legislation of Congress with reference to this mat- 
ter required that such public buildings should be erected as were 
necessary for the accommodation of Congress and the President, his 
cabinet, and the other officers of the Government, and it was deter- 
mined that the Government of the United States should occupj' these 


new buildings as early as June, 1800. At this time, John Adams was 
President, John Marshall Secretary of State, Samuel Dexter Secre- 
tary^ of War, Benjamin Stoddard Secretary of the Navy. 

It is thought worthy of record as a part of this history tliat some 
notice should be taken of those men who accompanied the Govern- 
ment in its removal to the Federal City, many of whom afterward 
became permanent citizens of the Capital, and whose descendents are 
still inhabitants of that city. 

Of these we proceed to give such an account as is now possible 
from the biographical data they have left. 

Samuel Meredith was appointed by President Washington Treas- 
urer of tlie United States at the organization of the Federal Govern- 
ment, and held the ofHce until 1801, when he resigned. He was one 
of the first to espouse the cause of the Revolution, distinguished 
himself at the battles of Trenton and Princeton, served in the Colonial 
Legislature of Pennsylvania, and was a delegate to the Continental 
Congress in 1787 and 1789. 

Thomas Tudor Tucker was Treasurer of the United States from 
1801 to the time of his death, in 1828. He had formerly been a 
delegate to the Continental Congress in 1787 and 1788, and was a 
Representative from South Carolina in Congress in 1789 and 1793. 

Joseph Nourse was the first Register of the Treasury of the United 
States, and held that office from 1789 to 1829. He was born in 
London, England, and emigrating to A^irginia, entered the Revolu- 
tionary army in 1776. He was clerk and auditor of the Board 
of War from 1777 to 1781, when he was appointed Assistant Auditor- 

Richard Harrison was First Auditor of the Treasury from 1791 
to 1836, a period of forty-five years, and died in Washington in 1841. 

Peter Hagner was the son of Valentine Hagner, who served with 
credit in the War of the Revolution. He was graduated from the 
University of Pennsylvania, and in 1792 received from President 
Washington the appointment of accountant of war. He accompanied 
the Government to the city of Washington, and in 1817 was appointed 
by President Monroe Third Auditor of the Treasury Department, which 
position he continued to hold until the date of his death in 1850, under 
every President from Monroe to Taylor. He erected for himself a 
handsome residence in the city of Washington, and it is worthy of 
note that at this day this residence is occupied by one of his sons, 
who is a leading physician of the city, and that adjoining it are the 
residences of two other sons, one a retired general officer of the army, 


and the other one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the District 
of Cohimhia. 

John Steele was First Comptroller of the Treasury under Presidents 
Washington and Adams. He was a memher of Congress from 1790 
to 1793, and was a commissioner to adjust the boundary between the 
States of Xorth and South Carolina. lie was elected to the Legislature 
of Xorth Carolina in 1814, and died on the day of his election. 

Gabriel Duval succeeded John Steele as First Comptroller of the 
Treasury, and served in that capacity from 1802 to 1811. He was a 
clerk of the Legislature of Maryland before the Declaration of Lide- 
pendence, and was a member of Congress from 1794 to 1796. In 
1811, lie was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of the United 
States, and held that office twenty-four years. He died in Prince 
George's County, Maryland, in 1844. 

William Simmons was appointed accountant of the War Depart- 
ment and came to this city with the Government when it removed 
here from Philadelphia. 

Thomas Turner was appointed in 1800 accountant of the Navy 
Department, the office being subsequently known as the Fourth Audi- 
torship. He continued its occupant until 1810. 

Abraham Bradley, Jr., was appointed Assistant Postmaster-Gen- 
eral in 1817, holding the office for about one year. His descendants 
have continued citizens of the District to this time, and have, many 
of them, lield positions of importance and responsibility, always with 
great credit. 

Thomas Munroe came to Washington with the Government in 
1800, and in 1802 was appointed Superintendent of the Public Build- 
ings for the District of Columbia. He was appointed postmaster of 
the city of Washington in 1799, and retained that office until removed 
by President Jackson. He continued to reside in the city until his 
death. He acquired considerable property, and was identified with 
the progress of the city in every way in which ho could be useful. 
Members of his family still continue to reside in the city. 

Roger C. Weightman was one of the early residents of Washing- 
ton, but was not connected in any way with the Government. He 
held a prominent position among the citizens of his adopted city, 
was Mayor of the city several terms, and was afterward cashier of 
the Bank of Washington. During his entire life, which was quite 
extended, he was held in the highest regard by citizens of all classes. 

Altogether the most important incident connected with the estab- 
lishment of the permanent residence of the Government at the Capital 


City, was the erection of the buihlings intended for tlie acconinioda- 
tioii of tlie Federal officers. As early as 1784, when the subject of the 
selection of the site for the GoveiMunent residence was under discussion 
in the Continental Congress, a. motion was made to select a. parcel of 
land ujton the hanks of the Delaware. This motion [»revailcd, hut 
was never acted upon. By tlie terms of this motion commissioners 
were selected whose duty it was to purchase the soil and enter into 
negotiations for the erection and com[)letion of elegant buildings for 
tlie Federal House, a President's House, and liouses for the Secretaries 
of Foreign Affairs, of War, Marine, and Treasury; and that in devising 
the situation of such buildings due regard should be had to the 
accommodation of the States for the use of their delegates respectively. 
It will thus be apparent that the erection of these buildings was 
considered at the outset a matter ot\ great importance. \¥hen the 
site upon the Potomac was finall}' decided upon, this same subject was 
careful 1}* considered, and steps were taken for the procurement of 
plans for the Capitol and other public buildings. The men who were 
principally engaged in the erection of these buildings are entitled to a 
prominent place in the history of the Capital City. That they were 
remarkal)le men is shown by the stability and grandeur of the build- 
ings erected under their guidance. Under all these circumstances it 
will not be amiss if a few sliort sketches of the lives of these men 
are here inserted. 

Stephen L. Hallett was a cultivated French architect residing in 
New York City in 1792. In that year the following advertisement 
appeared in the principal newspapers of the countr}': 

"Washington, in the Territory of Columbia. 

"A premium of a lot in this city, to be designated by impartial 
judges, and $500, or a medal of that value, at the option of the party, 
will be given by the Commissioners of the Federal Buildings to the 
person who, before the 15th of July, 1792, shall produce to them the 
most approved plan for a capitol, to be erected in this city; and $250, 
or a gold medal, for the plan deemed next in merit to the one they 
shall adopt. The building to be of brick, and to contain the following 
apartments, to wit: A conference room and a room for the Ile[)re- 
sentatives, sufficient to accommodate three hundred persons each; a 
lobb}', or anteroom, to the latter; a Senate room of twelve hundred 
square feet area; an antechamber; twelve rooms of six hundred square 
feet each, for committee rooms and clerks' offices. It will be a rec- 
ommendation of any i»lan if the central part of it may ])e detached and 


erectecV for the present with the appearance of a complete whole, and 
be capable of admitting the additional parts in future, if they shall 
be wanted. Drawings will be expected of the ground plots, elevations 
of each front, and sections through the buikling in such directions as 
may be necessar}' to explain the internal structure; and an estimate of 
the cubic feet of brick work composing the whole mass of the walls." 

Architect Ilallett offered a plan for a capitol building, and 
singularly enough his principal contestant was an Englishman named 
Dr. William Thornton, who, it is said, was a man of liue natural 
abilities, but unskilled as an architect. On many accounts the plan 
presented by Dr. Thornton was considered the best, and as may be 
seen by reference to the chapter on Public Buildings, was in the 
main adopted, although not without considerable modifications, these 
moditications being in the direction of the plan submitted by 
Mr. Hallett. The result was that Mr. Hallett was made supervising 
architect of the Capitol, but remained in office only a short time, 
when he resigned. But little is known of Mr. Ilallett beyond what 
is here expressed. 

George Iladtield succeeded Mr. Hallett, and continued on the work 
until 1798, when he resigned, having had as his associate a portion of 
that time James Hoban, who in 1799 or 1800 finished the north wing 
of the Capitol. Mr. Hoban, in response to an advertisement for plans 
for the President's House, submitted the plans that were accepted by 
the commissioners, and was the supervising architect in its construc- 
tion. Mr. Hoban vv^as an Irishman by birth, and a man of great 
activity and vigor. He made the city of Washington his home, and 
some of his descendants are now living in the Capital. His son, James 
Hoban, was a lawyer of considerable prominence, serving for some 
years as attorney for the District of Columbia. 

Benjamin Henry Latrobe, born in Yorkshire, England, May 1, 
1764, succeeded Mr. Hoban as architect of the Capitol. He was 
descended from Boneval de la Trobe, who emigrated from France to 
Holland after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and who, while 
in the service of the Prince of Orange, was severel}' wounded in the 
battle of the Boyne. Benjamin H. Latrobe, in 1785, entered the Prus- 
sian army as a cornet of Hussars. Resigning his commission in 1788 
and returning to England, he was made engineer of London in 1789. 
Declining a crown surveyorship, he came to the United States, landing 
at Norfolk, Virginia, May 20, 1796. In 1798, he removed to Phila- 
delphia, where he designed the Bank ot Pennsylvania, tlie old 


Academy of Art, and tlie Bank of the United States, besides other 
buildings. lie was the first to supply water to Philadelphia, pumping 
it by steam from the Schuylkill in 1800. He was appointed surveyor 
of the public buildings in Washington by President Jefferson in 
1803, following Thornton, Iladlield, and Iloban as architect of the 
Capitol. He perfected Dr. Thornton's designs, and altered those for 
the interior construction of the south wing of the Capitol, with the 
approval of the President; 

In the reconstruction of the north wing of the Capitol, Mr. 
Latrobe planned the vestibule in which are six columns, each of 
which is composed of cornstalks bound together, the joints forming 
a spiral effect, while the capitals are modeled from the ears of corn. 
lie also designed the tobacco-plant capitals of columns in the circular 
colonnade in the north wing, and left drawings of a capital whose 
ornamentation is designed for the cotton plant. In 1812, he became 
interested with Robert Fulton in the introduction of steamboats on 
the Western rivers, and built the Bufalo^ at Pittsburg, the fourth 
steamboat to descend the Ohio River. While at work on this 
boat, Mr. Latrobe was called to Washington to repair the Capitol 
after its partial destruction by the British in 1814. Resigning his 
position at the Capital, he was succeeded by Charles Bullfinch, who 
executed his predecessor's designs of changing the oblong hall of the 
old Capitol into a semi-circular form. At the time of his death, Sep- 
tember 3, 1820, he was engaged in erecting waterworks to supply 
water to New Orleans. 

It happened very fortunately, when Congress had finally, after 
years of struggle, determined to venture upon the experiment of 
erecting a capital city in the wilderness upon the banks of the Poto- 
mac, that such an engineer as Pierre Charles L'Enfant was found. He 
was unquestionably at that time the first engineer and architect of 
any consequence in the United States. His genius was equal to the 
occasion. He had already distinguished himself by the work he had 
performed in transforming an old public building in the city of New 
York into a Federal Hall, in which Congress held its sessions with 
great comfort and convenience; and he had made manifest his taste 
and patriotism by completing a design for the insignia of the Society 
of the Cincinnati. In addition to this, he had planned a house for 
Robert Morris, the great financier of the Revolution, which was not 
completed at that time. It was the first instance ever seen on the 
Western Continent of the mansard roof, which a century afterward 
was so generally used. 


General Washington did not hesitate to place in the hands of 
L'Enfant the execution of the great design of a Federal City for the 
Government's official residence. Time has shown how wise the first 
President was in this respect, as in all things else he did in relation 
to our national existence. For years people ridiculed the extravagant 
[)lan of the erratic Frenchman. IS^ot only our own citizens hut also 
visitors from other lands laughed at the idea of "squares in morasses, 
obelisks in trees," and every American felt mortitied when taunted 
with the charge that the Capital of his Xation was a city of only 
"magnificent distances." It took no little of the bravery of genius to 
plan amid the swamps and creeks of the lands lying between the 
Potomac and Anacostia, in those early days, a city that time was to 
develop into the model capital of the world. And. yet such is tlie 
result. L'Enfant did not hesitate to enter upon the duty to which 
he had been assigned, and it is remarkable that from the first liis 
design was to plan a city, not for the day in which he lived, nor for 
the [)opulation of a country such as that of the new Pe[)ublic then 
promised to be, but a capital for all time, a nation of more millions 
than the population of any country in the world of that day numbered. 
Writing about this nuitter years afterward, one says: "Although 
the site of Washington looked very engaging to the eye of the 
traveler from the o[)posite hill, who imagined that its flatness would 
dispense with costly grades and engineering, yet it was in reality 
a mere gully, — the alluvial overflow from the hills of Maryland 
brought down by the heavy rainfall and creeks. Aluch of it was 
swamp, and the engineers were persecuted witii insects and nuilaria, 
with mud and extortion, with foolish questions and more insolent 

L'Enfant was assisted by Ellicott, a surve3'Or; the negro almanac 
maker, Bannecker; and Roberdieu, a young Frenchman full of impet- 
uosity and reckless of what he said. Many men regarded the great 
engineer as a mere subordinate, working out the plans of the commis- 
sioners in charge of the Federal Territory, and sought to influence him 
as such, to the end that they might accomplish their own views of 
profit and self-aggrandizement. The men of those days were like their 
sons of to-day, and it is not surprising, therefore, that the conscien- 
tious Frenchman who i-efused to expose his plans for the benefit of 
those who wished to find out where to purchase lots with the greatest 
assurance of profit, was made the subject of unfair ci'iticism, and was 
finally discharged from his office. 

Little is known of L'Enfant after ins retirement from the office 


of engineer of the plan of Washington. President Monroe ottered him 
the place of professor at West Point, but he did not accept the otter. 
He was aftei'ward selected to prepare a design for, and to superintend 
the erection of. Fort Washington, on the Potomac, in the neighborhood 
of Mount Vernon. It seems, however, tliat his old spirit of impatience 
and insubordination followed him into this work, and he was soon 
mustered out of service. From this time, through several years of 
comparative obscurity and seeming neglect, we trace him to the home 
of a gentleman named William Dudley I)igges, in the neighborhood 
of Washington, known as Green Hill, and for many j-ears the country 
residence of Mr. George Riggs, the banker. Here he spent the even- 
ing of his days, amusing himself with books and designs that were 
confined to the arrangement of the ttower garden of his tract. In 
1825, he died, and was buried on the grounds near his last residence. 
His grave is not marked by a memorial of any kind; indeed, it is 
doubtful if its exact site can be ascertained. And this is all that 
is known of a man who, at some future day, will be the subject of a 
public statue in one of the squares of the magnificent city the plan of 
which is now recognized as the ottspring of his genius. 

Samuel Harrison Smith was the son of Jonathan Bayard Smith, 
of Philadelphia, a distinguished Revolutionary patriot. During the 
greater part of that war he filled with honor and reputation the 
responsible trust of a member of the Committee of Safety. Samuel 
H. Smith was born in 1772. In 1796, he opened a printing ottice on 
Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, between the western corner of Carpen- 
ter Street and Fourth Street, from which he issued, in August and 
September of that year, a newspaper twice a day, morning and 
evening, under the name of the New World. This enterprise was in 
all probability original with him, and never afterward imitated by 
anyone. It was not long before he discovered that zeal and talent 
were not the oidy prerequisites to success in the newspaper business, 
and learning from his experience that the people did not wish to 
receive a paper more than once a day, he changed his paper to a 
daily, the first number of wliich appeared October 24, 1796, and was 
marked No. 122 in the series. A few months further experiment 
induced him to abandon the daily paper, there being really but little 
demand for a fifth daily paper in Philadelphia at that time. 

Another paper, however, began to be called for by the i)arty then 
springing into consequence in Congress and the country under the 
leadership of Mr. Jetterson, Vice-President of the United States. This 
new party was known by the name of the Republican Party, and the 


paper demanded was a weekly, tliat it might be fit for distribution 
through the mails, which at that time were, as a general thing, trans- 
mitted but once a week. Mr. Smith was urged to undertake this new 
enterprise. There was then published in Philadelphia a paper by 
Joseph Gales, purchased by him about a year before from Colonel 
John Oswald, a Revolutionary hero, the name of the paper being the 
Independent Gazetteer. Mr. Smith bought this paper and changed its 
name to the Universal Gazette, and issued the first number of it under 
this new name November 16, 1797. He continued to publish it 
weekly until he relinquished the printing business in Philadelphia. 

Upon the removal of the Capital of the United States to Wash- 
ington, in 1800, Mr. Smith also removed to Washington, and began 
the publication of a tri-weekly paper named the National Intelligencer, 
the first number of which was issued October 31, 1800. From the 
first, this paper received the support of the leading men of its own 
side of i)olitics. It sustained Mr. Jefferson's administration, and was 
sustained by him in return, as was also the case with the administra- 
tion of Mr. Madison. Mr. Smith, however, having partially engaged 
in rural pursuits, longed to devote his life to those labors which 
were more of a literary and philosophical nature, and hence, in Sep- 
tember, 1810, he sold the Intelligencer to Joseph Gales, Jr., who had 
been connected with it about three years. 

Mr. Smith, therefore, at the age of thirty-eight years, was a retired 
gentleman, having a farm of about two hundred acres, upon wiiich 
was a delightful "country seat," and he also had a comfortable compe- 
tency in money. He now became exclusively devoted to the rearing 
and education of his children, to the cares of a farm and garden, and 
to the pui'suit of deferred studies with a view to certain literary enter- 
prises. But these literary undertakings were never fully carried out, 
because of the persistent intervention of other duties. In 1813, he 
accepted from President Madison the responsible office of Commis- 
sioner of the Revenue, and performed its duties, until it was abolished, 
with scrupulous exactness and faithfulness. He then became president 
of the Bank of Washington, and still later, president of the Branch 
Bank of the United States, located in Washington. He was for many 
years a member of the corporate body of the city of Washington, and 
for a time president of one of the branches of the Council. He was 
for a long time registrar for the county of Washington and a member 
of its levy court. He was influential in the establishment of the 
public schools of the city and of the Washington City Library, and 
for many years previous to his death he was one of the vice-presi- 


dents of the American Colonization Society, lie was an active member 
and treasurer of the Washington Natioiuil Monument Society. 

The distinguished characteristics of Mr. Smith were his })ublic 
spirit and his personal independence, and all through his life he lived 
with the blameless simplicity aiid purity of a philosopher. His death 
occurred J^[ovember 18, 1845. 

Andrew EUicott was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Jan- 
uary 24, 1754; was a civil engineer; founded Ellicott's Mills, in 
Maryland; was a personal friend of Franklin and Washington; in 
1790, was appointed by the General Government to survey and lay 
out the site of the city of Washington; in 1792, was appointed Sur- 
veyor-General of the United States; and in 1812, became a professor 
of mathematics at West Point, where he died August 29, 1820. 

Benjamin Bannecker, the mulatto mathematician and astronomer, 
assisted Ellicott in his survey. He was born in 1751, and died in 
1804. The Maryland Historical Society has published a sketch of his 
life. Coudorcet, secretary of the French Academy of Sciences, wrote 
him a complimentary letter concerning his almanac, which had been 
sent him by President Jefferson. One of the public school buildings 
in Washington is named after him, the Bannecker School. 



The Municipal Government of the City of Washington —The Acts of Maryland and 
Virginia Ceding Territory — The Connection of the Location of the Cai)ital with 
the State Debt Question — Thomas Jefferson Quoted — The Amende*! Act Relating 
to the District — President Washington's Letters and Proclamations — The First 
Commissioners — The Setting of the Corner Stone of the District — Difficulties with 
the Proprietors — The Agreement with Them — Major L'Enfant's Instructions — His 
Agreement with John Gibson — He Demolishes Daniel Carroll's House — His Course 
Approved by a Portion of the Proprietors — The First Commissioners in Full — The 
First Charter of Washington — The First Election under It — Subsequent Elections 

— Incidents in the Political History of the City — The Charter of 1820 — The 
Mayors of the City — Congressional Legislation as Affecting the District — Indig- 
nation of the Citizens — Congress Comes Near Abolishing Slavery in Washington 

— Election Riots in 1857 — Know-Nothingism — Mayor Berrett Arrested — Richard 
Wallach Becomes Mayor — M. G. Emery Elected INIayor — The Territorial Govern- 
ment — Alexander R. Shepherd's Work — The Government by Commissioners — The 
Police Department — Soldiers on the Force — The Water Department and Great 
Aqueduct — The Fire Department — The City Post Office. 

THE history of the government of the city of Washington may 
well begin with the history of the formation of the District of 
Columbia. " The formation of the District was provided for in the 
cession by the States of Maryland and Virginia of portions of their 
territory lying north and south respectively of the Potomac River, 
sufficient to constitute a tract of land ten miles square. The act of 
Maryland, passed December 23, 1788, was as follows: 

"An Act to Cede to Congress a District of Ten Miles Square in this 
State for the Seat of Government of the United States: 

'■'■Be it enacted by the General Assembly of 3Iaryland, That the Rep- 
resentatives of this State in the House of Representatives of the United 
States appointed to assemble at New York on the first Wednesday of 
March next, be and they are hereby autliorized, on the behalf of this 
State, to cede to Congress of the United States any district in this 
State not exceeding ten miles square which the Congress may fix 
upon for the seat of government of the United States." 


The Virgiiiia^cession act was as follows: 

"Whereas, The equal and coninion l)oiiefit resulting from the 
adniinistration of the General Government will be best diffused, and 
its operations become more prompt and certain, by establishing such 
a situation for the site of the seat of government as will be the most 
central and convenient to the citizens of the United States at large, 
having regard as well to the population, extent, territorv, and the 
free navigation to the Atlantic Ocean through the Chesapeake Bay, as 
to the most direct and ready communication with our fellow citizens 
on the western frontier; and 

"Whereas, It appears to this Assembly that a situation combining 
all these considerations and advantages before recited may be had on 
the banks of the Potomac, above tide water, in a country rich and 
fertile in soil, healthy and salubrious in climate, and abounding in all 
the necessities and conveniences of life; where, in a location of ten 
miles square, if the wisdom of Congress shall so direct, the States of 
Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia may participate in such location; 

'■'■Be. it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That a tract of 
country not to exceed ten miles square, or any lesser quantity, to be 
located within the limits of this State, and in any part thereof, as Con- 
gress may by law direct, shall be and the same is hereby forever ceded 
and relinquished to the Congress and Government of the United States, 
in full and absolute right and jurisdiction, as well of soil as of persons 
residing therein, pursuant to the tenor and effect of the eighth section 
of the first article of the Constitution of the Government of the 
United States: Provided, that nothing herein contained shall be con- 
strued to vest in the United States any right of property in the soil, 
or to affect tlie rights of individuals therein, otherwise than the same 
shall or may be transferred by such individuals to the United States: 
And provided, also, that tlie jurisdiction of the laws of this Common- 
wealth over the persons and property of individuals residing within 
the limits of the cession aforesaid shall not cease or determine until 
Congress, having accepted the said cession, shall by law provide for 
the government thereof under their jurisdiction in the manner pro- 
vided by the article of the Constitution before recited." 

The selection of a location for the seat of government was dis- 
cussed in the convention held in Philadelphia in 1787 to revise the 
Federal system of government, but it was not then decided. But at 
the second session of the First Congress, held in New York in the 
summer of 1790, an act was passed (recited in Chapter III.) which 
finally decided its location. The discussion was, as has been in that 


chapter clearly indicated, long and earnest. Now York, Philadelphia, 
Baltimore, Trenton, Harrisbnrg, and other places pressed their claims 
npon Congress to be made the Capital City of the new Nation. For 
a time it seemed as if no selection was possible. Maryland and 
Virginia, as may be seen by reading the acts of those States recited 
above, by ceding territory to the United States, had each done its 
part toward a solution of the question; but at length, in much the 
same manner that legislation is effected even down to the present day, 
a compromise was arrived at in the passage of the act of Congress 
above mentioned. This act was introduced first into the Senate, and 
passed by that body, June 1, 1790, by the following vote: 

Yeas — Bassett, Butler, Charles Carroll, Elmer, Gunn, Hawkins, 
Henry, Johnston, Langdon, Lee, Maclay, Morris, Read,, and Walker — 14. 

Nays — Dalton, Ellsworth, Few, Foster, Johnson, Izard, King, Pat- 
terson, Schuyler, Stanton, Strong, and Wingate — 12. 

The history of the struggle in the House of Representatives has 
been presented in Chapter III. 

If the interior history of the passage of this act could be accurately 
and fully ascertained, it would doubtless be much more interesting and 
instiiictive than anything that can now be written upon the subject. 
However, enough is known to establish the fact of a compromise 
between the friends of this measure and the friends of another 
measure which was radically different in ever}" way from this one. 
The other measure was one favoring the assumption of the debts 
incurred by the respective States in establishing the independence of 
the United States. With reference to this assumption, Mr. Madison, 
then a member of the House, wrote on the 13th of April, 1790, as 
follows: "The last vote was taken yesterda}', and it passed in the 
negative b}" 31 against 29, The minority do not abandon hope, 
however; and 't is impossible to foretell the final destiny of the 
measure. Massachusetts and South Carolina, with their allies from 
Connecticut and New York, are too zealous to be arrested in their 
project unless by the force of an adverse majority." 

May 24, 1790, while the debate upon the public debt was in 
progress in the House of Representatives, Mr. Gerry, of Massachu- 
setts, moved to insert a clause providing for the assumption of the 
State debts by the United States, thus bringing the subject again 
before that body, which led to considerable earnest debate, by Mr. 
Sherman, Mr. Boudinot, Mr. Ames, and Mr. Madison. Mr. Madison, 
with most of the Southern members, was opposed to the proposed 
assumption, as they were generally favorable to the location of the 


Federal District oil the Potomac, "in tlio woods at the Indian town 
of Connogocheague," as it was expressed by some of tliose favoring 
a more northern hocation. June 22, 1790, Mr. Madison wrote to 
Edmund Randolph: "We are endeavoring to keep the pretensions 
of the Potomac in view, and to give to all the circumstances that 
occur a turn favorable to it. If any arrangement should be made 
that will answer our wishes, it will be the effect of a coincidence of 
causes as fortuitous as it will be propitious." 

It is, from this extract, evident that there was but little hope 
existing then for the success of the Potomac site. But the fortuitous 
coincidence of causes, which was Mr. Madison's only hope, did in a 
short time afterward occur. How it occurred, is related in a most 
interesting manner by Mr. Jefferson in the ninth volume of his works, 
commencing on page 93. Mr. Jefferson says: 

"This measure [the assumption of the State debts] produced the 
most bitter and angry contest ever known in Congress before or since 
the union of the States. I arrived in the midst of it [from his mission 
in Paris]. But a stranger to the ground, a stranger to the actors on it, 
so long absent as to have lost all familiarity with the subject, and as 
yet unaware of its objects, I took no concern in it. The great and 
trying question however was lost in the House of Representatives. 
So high were the feuds excited by the subject that on its rejection 
business was suspended. Congress met and adjourned from day to day 
w^ithout doing anything, the parties being too much out of temper to 
do business together. The Eastern members particularly, who, with 
Smith, of South Carolina, were the principal gamblers in these scenes, 
threatened a secession and a disunion. Hamilton was in despair. As 
I was going to the President's House, one day I met him in the 
street. He walked me backwards and forwards before the President's 
door for half an hour. He painted pathetically the temper in which 
the legislators had been wrought; the danger of the secession of their 
members, and the separation of the States. lie observed that the 
members of the administration ought to act in concert; that the Presi- 
dent was the center on which all administrations ultimately rested, and 
that all of us should rally around him and support with joint efforts 
measures approved by him, and that the question having been lost by 
a small majority only, it was probable that an appeal from me to the 
judgment and discretion of some of my friends might effect a change 
in the votes, and the machinery of the Government, now suspended, 
might be again set in motion. 

"I told him that I was really a stranger to the whole subject; that 


not yet having informed myself of the system of^nance adopted, I 
knew not how far this was a necessary sequence; that undoubted!}^, if 
a rejection threatened a dissohition of our Union at this incipient 
stage, I should deem that the most unfortunate of all consequences, to 
avert which all partial and temporary evils should be yielded, I 
pi'oposed to him, however, to dine with me next day, and I would 
invite another friend or two, bringing them into conference together; 
and I thought it impossible that reasonable men, consulting together 
fully, could fail, by some mutual sacrifices of opinion, to form a 
compromise which would save the Union. The discussion took place. 
I could take no part in it save an exhortatory one, because I was a 
stranger to the circumstances which should govern it. But it was 
linally agreed that whatever importance had l)een attached to the 
rejection of this proposition, the preservation of the Union and of 
concord among the States was more important, and that therefore it 
w^ould be better that the vote of rejection should be reconsidered, to 
efiect which some members should change their votes. But it was 
observed that this })ill would be exceeding bitter to the Southern 
States, and that some concomitant measure should be adopted to 
sweeten it a little to them. There had before been propositions to fix 
the seat of government either at Philadelphia or at Georgetown, and 
it was thought that by giving it to Philadel[)hia for ten years and to 
Georgetown permanently afterwards, this might act as an anodyne, 
and calm in some degree the ferment which might be excited by the 
other measure alone. So two of the Potomac members ( White and 
Lee, but White with a revulsion of stomach almost convulsive) agreed 
to change their votes; and Hamilton undertook to carry the other 

"In doing this, the influence he liad established over the Eastern 
members, with the agency of Robert Morris with those of the Middle 
States, effected his side of the engagement, and so assumption was 
passed, and twenty millions of stock divided among favored States, 
and thrown in as a pabulum to the stock-jobbing herd. This added to 
the number of votaries to the treasury, and made its chief the master 
of every vote in the legislature which might give to the Government 
the direction suited to his political views."' 

The debate on the assumption of the debts of the States was long 
and earnest, frequently "bitter," as Mr. Jefferson says; but it is evident 
that it is unnecessary to give a summary or further description of it 
in this connection, except to say that the proposition to assume was 
as strongly supported by lion. Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts, as it 


was by Mr. Smith, of South Carolina; and that according to these 
gentlemen's opinion it was a duty the General Government owed to 
the States, because these debts had been assumed by the States at the 
request of the General Government when that Government could not 
meet its obligations. Upon such representations as these the bill for 
the assumption passed the House of Representatives August 4, 1790, 
three weeks and live days after the passage of the bill locating the 
seat of government on the Potomac River. 

The act of Congress, as first passed, directed that the district of ten 
miles square should be located "on the River Potomac, at some place 
between the mouths of the Eastern Branch and Connogocheague." 
President Washington, not being fully satisfied with the limitations 
prescribed by this act, in his proclamation of Januar}^ 24, 1791, 
provided for the location of a part only of the district, in the fol- 
lowing language: "I do hereb}' declare and make known that 
the location of one part of said district of ten miles square shall be 
found by running four lines of experiment in the following manner:" 
etc., trusting to Congress to grant him the authority to locate a part 
of the district below the mouth of the Eastern Branch. President 
Washington preferred the location as it was at length determined 
upon, because it was the most suitable for the public buildings, and 
Congress, perceiving the propriety of his suggestions, passed an amend- 
atory act, March 3, 1791, which enacted "that it shall be lawful for 
the President to make any part of the territory below the said limit 
and above the mouth of Hunting Creek a part of the said district, so 
as to include a convenient part of the Eastern Branch, and the lands 
lying on the lower side thereof, and also the town of Alexandria.'" 
Then, on March 30, 1791, the President issued his proclamation for 
the purpose of amending and completing the locatiou of the whole 
of the said territory of te'n miles square, in conformity with the said 
supplemental act, in which he recited all of the previously related 
official matters connected with the project of locating the Federal 
District, and then went on to say: 

"Now, therefore, for the purpose of amending and completing 
the location of the whole of said territory of ten miles square, in con- 
formity with the said amendatory act of Congress, I do hereby declare 
and make known that the whole of said territory shall be located and 
included withiu the following lines: that is to say, — 

"Beginning at Jones's Point, being the upper cape of Hunting 
Creek, in Virginia, and at an angle in the outside of forty-five degrees 
west of north, and running in a direct line ten miles from the first 


line; then beginning again at the same Jones's Point, and running 
another direct line, at a right angle from the.lirst, across the Potomac 
ten miles for the second line; then, from the determinations of the 
first and second lines, running two other direct lines of ten miles each, 
the one crossing the Eastern Branch aforesaid, and the other the 
Potomac, and meeting each other in a point. 

"And I do, accordingly, direct the commissioners named under 
the authorit}' of the said first act of Congress, to proceed forthwith to 
have the said four lines run, and by proper metes and bounds defined 
and limited; and thereof to make due report under their hands and 
seals; and the territory so to be located, defined, and limited, shall be 
the whole territory accepted by the said act of Congress as the dis- 
trict for the permanent seat of the Government of the United States." 

April 3, 1791, President Washington wrote to the commissioners 
from Mount Vernon with reference to the form of deed, etc., that 
should be used in transferring the lots to the public, saying: 

" As the instrument which was subscribed at Georgetown by the 
landholders in the vicinity of that place and Carrollsburgh was not 
given to me, I presume it was deposited with you. It is of the greatest 
moment to close this business with the proprietors of the lands on 
which the Federal City is to be, that arrangements may be made 
without more delay than cari be avoided. 

"To accomplish this matter so that the sales of the lots around 
the public buildings, etc., may commence with as much facility as the 
nature of the case will admit, would be, I conceive, advisable under 
any circumstances. Perhaps the friends of the measure may think it 
materially so from the following extract of a letter from Mr. Jefferson 
to me, of the 27th ultimo: 

"'A bill was yesterday ordered to be brought into the House of 
Representatives here for granting a sum of money for building a Fed- 
eral Hall, house for the President, etc' 

"This (though I do not want any sentiment of mine promulgated 
with respect to it) marks unequivocally in my mind the designs of 
the State, and the necessity of CxXertion to carry the residence law into 
effect agreeably thereto." 

April 13, 1791, President Washington wrote: "It having been inti- 
mated to me that the proprietors of Georgetown are desirous of being 
comprehended within the limits of the Federal City, I see no objection 
to the measure, provided the landholders adjoining to it, included within 
the red lines of Messrs. Beatty & Orme's survey, referred to in the first 
offer from Georgetown, agree to cede to the public on the same terms 


with those under the hist or combined agreement; and if those within 
the blue lines are likewise desirous of being comprehended on the same 
terms, it nuiy be so, — the doing of which could only place them on the 
same footing with the rest of the subscribers, at the same time that it 
would render the plan more comprehensive, beneticial, and promising, 
drawing the center of the Federal City nearer to the present town. 

"If this measure is seriously contemplated, the present is the fit 
moment for carrj'ing it into effect; because in that case it will become 
part of the original plan, and the old and new towns would be blended 
and assimilated as nearly as circumstances will admit — and Major 
L'Enfant might be instructed to lay out the whole accordingly." 

The commissioners appointed by President Washington, Januarj' 
22, 1791, to locate, define, and limit the Federal District, were 
Governor Thomas Johnson, of Maryland; lion. Daniel Carroll, of 
Maryland, and Dr. David Stuart, of Virginia. At the time of his 
appointment Daniel Carroll was a member of Congress, and for this 
reason refused to serve; but after the termination of the Congress, 
March 4, 1791, he consented to serve, and a new commission was 
issued to him. The first meeting of these commissioners was held at 
Georgetown, April 12, 1791, and on April 15 the corner stone was 
laid near Jones's Point, in the vicinity of Alexandria, on tlie Virginia 
side of the Potomac River. The ceremony in laying this corner 
stone was under the supervision of Hon. Daniel Carroll and Dr. David 
Stuart, and w^as in accordance with Masonic customs. An address was 
delivered by Rev. James Muir, and was as follows: 

"Amiable it is for brethren to dwell together in unity; it is more 
fragrant than the perfumes of Aaron's garment; it is more refreshing 
than the dews on llermon's Hill. May this stone long commemorate 
the goodness of God, in those uncommon events wdiich have given 
America a place among nations. Under this stone may jealousy and 
selfishness be forever buried. From this stone may a superstructure 
arise whose glory, whose magnificence, whose stability, unequaled 
hitherto, shall astonish the world, and invite even the savage of the 
wilderness to a shelter under its roof." 

Difficulties having arisen with reference to the boundaries of 
the District, President Washington wrote to the commissioners from 
Charleston, South Carolina, May 7, 1791, as follows: 

"It is an unfortunate circumstance in the present state of the 
business relating to the Federal City, that difficulties unforeseen and 
unexpected should arise to darken, perhaps to destroy, the fair prospect 
which it presented when I left Georgetown, and which the instrument 


then signed by the combined interest [as it was termed] of Georgetown 
and Carrollsburgli so plainly describes. The pain which this occurrence 
occasions me is the more sensibl}' felt, as I had taken pleasure during 
my journey through the several States to relate the agreement, and to 
speak of it on every occasion in terms which applauded the conduct 
of the parties, as being alike conducive to the public welfare and to 
the interests of individuals, which last, it was generally understood, 
would be most benefitted by the amazing increase of the property 
reserved to the landholders. 

•'The words cited by iSTotley Young, Peter, Lingan, Forrest, and 
Stoddert may be nearly what I expressed; but will these gentlemen 
say this was given as the precise bonndary? or will they, detaching 
these words, take them in a sense unconnected witli the general 
explanation of my ideas and views upon that occasion, or without the 
qualifications which, if I am not mnch mistaken, were added, of 
running about so and so, for I had no map before me for direction? 
Will they not recollect that Philadelphia stood upon an area of three 
by two miles? and that if the metropolis of one State occupied so 
much ground, what ought that of the (Jnited States to occupy ? Did 
I not, moreover, observe that before the city should be laid out and 
the spot for the public buildings be precisely fixod upon, the water 
courses were to be leveled, the heights taken, etc. ? Let the whole 
of my declaration be taken together, and not a part only, and being 
compared with the instrument then subscribed, together with some 
other circumstances that might be alluded to, let any impartial man 
judge whether I had reason to expect that difficulties would arise in the 
conveyances. When the instrument was presented, I found no occasion 
to add a word with respect to the boundary, because the whole was 
surrendered upon the conditions which were expressed. Had I discov-" 
ered a disposition in the subscribers to contract my views, I should 
then have pointed out the inconveniences and the impolicy of the 
measure. Upon the whole, I shall hope and expect that the business 
will be permitted to proceed, and the more so as they cannot be 
ignorant that the further consideration of a certain measure in a 
neighboring State stands postponed; for what reason, is left to their 
own information and conjecture." - 

The agreement alluded to by President Washington, about which 
some trouble had arisen, was signed by nineteen of the principal 
proprietors of the lands constituting the present site of Washington, 
March 30, 1791, and presented to the commissioners, and bj' them 
accepted April 12. It has been given in full in Chapter IV. 


September 24, 171>1, the following resolution was passed by the 

^'■Resob^ed, That Major L'Enfant be instructcfl to emplo\-, on the 
first Monday of October next, one hundred and fifty laborers to throw 
up clay at tlie President's House and the house of Congress, and in 
doing sucli other work connected with the post road and the public 
buildings as he shall think most proper to liave immediately executed. 

'■^Besolced, That Major L'Enfant be instructed to direct three 
hundred copies of the plan of the Federal City to be transmitted to 
such parts in the Northern States as he shall think proper, and tliat 
he Iceep the remainder subject to the direction of the commissioners." 

On November 18, 1791, Pierre Charles L'Enfant presented to the 
commissioners the following agreement between liimself and John 
Gibson, of Dumfries, merchant: 

"The said Pierre Charles L'Enfant, on behalf of the public, hath 
rented from the said John Gibson, for ten years, to commence on the 
1st day of next month, all the quarries of freestone on the land on 
Acquia Creek sold on the 14th of this present month by the trustees 
of Robert Brent, deceased, to James Keid, and by him bought for the 
said John Gibson, at the rent of £20 current money, to be paid to 
the said John Gibson, or his assigns, on the 1st day of December ot 
every year, the first rent to become due and payable on the 1st day 
of December, 1792. And it is further agreed by the said Pierre 
Charles L'Enfant, that full and free use and occupation of the soil of 
the lands, woods, and all a[)purtenances to the laud belonging or in 
any wise appertaining, shall be and remain the property and at the 
sole disposal of liim, the said John Gibson, or his assigns, during 
the term aforesaid, except only the quarries aforesaid, four acres of 
laud adjoining for buildings, with reasonable right of egress and 
ingress from and to the same; and tlie said John Gibson doth hereby 
agree to let the said quarries with the right aforesai<l to the said 
Pierre Charles L'Enfant for pul)lic use at the yearly rent before 
mentioned, £20 current money for the term of ten years as in the 
former part of this agreement, and both parties bind themselves each 
to the other in the penalty of £200 for the true performance of this 
agreement and to execute any other or further article or writing for 
the better perfection of the same." 

A full account of the proprietors of the land at the time of the 
location of the Capital of the country, may be found in another 
chapter; but it is necessary to mention briefl}', in this connection, one 
of them who was quite unfortunate in more wa3-s than one. This 


one was "Daniel Carroll, of Duddington," whose estate, known as 
the "Duddington Manor," covered nearly the wdiole of what has since 
been known as "Capitol Hill." Daniel Carroll was a man of culture 
and of high social standing in Maryland. He belonged to the famous 
Carroll family, which embraced among its members the Rt. Rev. 
John Carroll, first Bishop of Baltimore, who founded the college of 
Jesuits at Georgetown, and the venerable Charles Carroll, of Carroll- 
ton. Daniel Carroll was a brother of tlie former and a cousin of the 
latter. His residence w^as known as the ''Duddington House," and 
shortly after the streets had been marked out, in accordance with 
Major L'Enfant's plan, Mr. Carroll, who was one of the commissioners, 
assumed and asserted the right to erect his house in the middle of 
New Jersey Avenue, near the Capitol grounds. Against this proceed- 
ing Major L'Enfant vigorously protested, as it would close up the 
avenue and destroy the symmetry of the plan he had marked out. 
Mr. Carroll paying no attention to the protests of the Major, he, one 
morning, gave orders to his assistants to demolisli the structure, and 
himself went down to Acquia Creek. The work of demolition had 
not proceeded far, when Mr, Carroll hastened to a magistrate, pro- 
cui'ed a warrant, and put a stop to it. That niglit, when the Major 
returned from Acquia Creek, he found his orders unfulfilled, and so he 
organized a gang of laborers, took them quietly up the hill in the 
darkness, and set them to work on the demolition of the house. By 
sunrise next morning not one brick of the obnoxious building was left 
upon another. Mr. Carroll was, of course, very indignant at this high- 
handed proceeding, and made application to the President for redress; 
and Major L'Enfant, on December 8, 1791, wrote a letter to the com- 
missioners in explanation of the rejisous for his course. This nuitter 
was under consideration by the commissioners for some time, and 
considei'able interest was taken in it by the other pro[)rietors. Decem- 
ber 21, a memorandum was received from some of them as follows: 

"Gents: Understanding that Daniel Carroll, Esq., of Dudding- 
ton, has lodged a claim with you for the full value of his house 
lately taken down by order of Major L'Enfant, we hope and request 
that you will not apply any money granted for the improvement of 
the city of Washington to the payment thereof. 

"By this, however, we do not mean to reflect on Major L'Enfant's 
conduct; but, on the contrary, we are of opinion that his zeal, activity, 
and good judgn:ient in the affairs of the city merit the thanks of the 
})i-o[)rictors and well deserve the approbation of the public," etc. 

This memorandum was signed b}' Robert Peter, (Jverton Carr, 

MUNICIPAl.. 133 

William King, for liiniself, iind also for William Proiit; George 
Walker, Uriah Forrest, for himself and for P. K. Fendall; Samuel 
Davidson, and David Burns. 

In order to settle the matter, President Washington sought the 
advice of the Attorney-General, and at lengtli ordered the reconstruc- 
tion of the "Duddington House" precisely as it was before, but not 
in the same location. December 22, 1791, Major L'Enfant informed 
the commissioners that Notley Young's house was in the middle of 
a street, and made suggestions for the conduct of the commissioners 
in connection with the fixct. December 27, President Washington 
wrote the commissioners in reference to both these houses, saying that 
he hoped the Major did not mean to proceed to the demolition of the 
house of Mr. Young also, unless properly authorized and instructed. 

April 11, 1792, the commissioners received a letter from Andrew 
Ellicott with respect to the plan of the city, and on the same day 
they requested Mr. Harbaugh, Mr. Carlisle, and Mr. Mahan to act 
as arbitrators with respect to the amount that should be paid to 
Daniel Carroll, of Duddington, for the demolition of tiie house. The 
next day these arbitrators reported that in their opinion £310 ^s. 3c/. 
was the value of the materials destroyed. 

July 5, 1792, the commissioners adopted a resolution that they 
would pay the passage of any number not exceeding one hundred of 
Scotch passengers, at Georgetown, on their arrival there, on the terms 
of their working out the money; mechanics at 20 shillings, and labor- 
ers at 12 shillings sterling per month, twenty-six working days to the 
month, and clothing found, to be repaid in work or in money at the 
option of the person; provisions to be found by the commissioners, 
besides tlie allowance for wages. These advantageous terms were 
proposed to able-bodied, single men only, and the payment for passage 
money was limited to ten guineas for each person. 

The government of the District by commissioners was continued 
from 1791 until 1802, in which year the city of Washington was 
incorporated, the act of Congress granting the charter to the city 
having been passed May 3, 1802. The iirst commissioners have already 
been gfiven. Those servino; in 1801 were William Thornton, Alexan- 
der White, and Tristam Dalton; and those in office in 1802, the last 
ones of the early commissioners, being William Thornton, Alexander 
White, and William Cranch. Under the charter of the city the Mayor 
was a[)pointed by the President, and the city Council was elected 
by the people. The Iirst Mayor appointed in accordance with the 
provisions of the charter was Robert Brent, who continued to be 



reappointed auiuuilly until June, 1811, when lie declined to serve tlie 
oit}- longer in that capacity. All of this history is sufficiently set 
forth in the succeeding pages. 

A meeting was held November 12, 1802, for the purpose of putting 
in nomination six persons to serve in the Council of the city, of wdiich 
meetino- Dr. Cornelius Conyno-ham was chosen chairman, and Nicholas 
King secretai-y. These six persons were to represent that part of the 
city west of Sixth Street. The following were the nominees: Nicholas 
King, Cornelius Conyngham, Thomas Ilerty, Thomas Carpenter, James 
Iloban, and W. M. Duncanson. Another meeting was held about the 
same time by other persons, to nominate six persons to represent 
the western part of the city in the Council. This tneeting nominated 
James Hoban, John Kearney, William Brent, Thomas Peter, William 
Thornton, and Augustus Woodward. 

It appears that at the time when tlie people were selecting their 
lirst Council, there was considerable feeling aroused. A writer in the 
National Inttilu/encer, under the name of " Philanthropos," a native of 
the city, warned his fellow citizens against letting their angry feelings 
cloud their judgment, and thus prevent the election of a good Council 
for tlie first one. lie presented a ticket of his own, by the election 
of which he thought every interest of the young city would be 
conserved. This ticket was as follows: Daniel Carroll, of Dudding- 
ton, James Barry, Henry Ingle, George Blagden, llobert Brent, Samuel 
II. Smith, Robert W. Peacock, Thomas Munroe, John Jack, James 
Iloban, William Brent, and Nicholas King. 

The election was held on Monday, June 7, 1802, resulting as 


Daniel Carroll 

George Blagden.. 

.lames Barry 

William Brent.... 
Benjamin Mooie 
James Hoban 

























r-" "^ 

ri xri 

S3 ^ 






hT > 



204 1 
















Niehnlas King \ 29 

A. r.. Woo.lwanl | 27 

Samuel \\. Smith ' 26 

William I'l-dut ; 13 

Thomas Peter 

John Hewitt 















Ml'XIC/PA!.. 135 

Oil Monday, June 14, 1802, the Council convened ut tlie Capitol. 
Daniel Carroll, of Duddington, was chosen chairman, and John 
Hewitt secretary. Then, agreeably to the act of incorporation, a l>allot 
was taken for iive members to constitute the second chamber, resulting 
in the election of Daniel Carroll, Benjamin Moore, William Prout, John 
Hewitt, and James Iloban. The first chamber then elected James 
Barry president, and Nicholas King secretary; and the second 
chamber elected Daniel Carroll president, and John Hewitt secretary. 
Committees were appointed and the Council adjourned until the 21st 
of the month. 

On this day there was a partial reorganization of the two chambers, 
John T. Frost being elected secretary of the lirst chamber, and Thomas 
Herty of the second. The joint committee of the two chambers which 
had been appointed to examine the ground over which Maryland Ave- 
nue passed from the Capitol to the line eastward of the city toward 
Bladensburg, and also the situation and nature of the ground over 
which Tenth and Eleventh streets passed from Pennsylvania Avenue 
to the north line of the citj', or any other street which had been cal- 
culated for opening the most direct communication from said avenue 
to the road then leading from Fredericktown to Montgomery County 
Courthouse by Rock Creek to Georgetown, and to make an estimate 
of the probable cost of clearing and making the same passable for 
wagons, etc., reported substantially as follows: That they were of 
the opinion that Fourteenth Street West was the proper street to open 
and to make passable for wagons and carriages from Pennsylvania 
Avenue to the boundary of the city, and continued thence to intersect 
the Montgomery road at the south end of what was chiefly called 
Boucher's Lane. It would benefit the western part of the city espe- 
cially with respect to the marketing, and the entire city chiefly by 
opening a more direct and better road to Montgomer}-, Fredericktown, 
and the upper counties of Maryland. Maryland Avenue was, in the 
opinion of the committee, the most direct and proper street for 
the princii)al post road toward Bladensburg and Baltimore. The 
committee making this report was composed of Benjamin Moore, John 
Hoban, and Nicholas King. 

Under the tirst charter of the city, the Mayor was appointed by 
the President of the United States, and the first Mayor thus appointed 
was Robert Brent. Washington Boyd was the first treasurer and 
Thomas Herty the first register. 

Among the first acts passed by the above-named Council was one 
on October 6, 1802, to regulate the size of bricks. It provided, that 


after the first day of January, 1803, bricks sold in the city should l)c 
eii»;ht and three-quarter inches long, four and one-fourth inches wide, 
and two and three-eighth inches thick, and that they should be well 
burned. None should be made in the cit}' smaller than the size given, 
under a penalty of $1 for every one thousand so made, sold, or ottered 
for sale. 

Another of their early acts was one providing that all ha}', straw, 
or fodder brought to the city and sold after the 1st of November, 
1802, east of the Tiber, should be sold by weight, and should be 
weighed on the machine erected for that purpose by John iMcCarty, 
who was granted the exclusive privilege of weighing all such 
hay, straw, and fodder, and who was required to keep his scales in 
perfect order. 

Under an ordinance of the two chambers of the Council of the 
corporation, the Maj'or appointed as trustees of the poor, early in 
November, 1802, Joseph Hodgson, John Kearney, and Griflith Coombes, 
and as overseer of the poor, Benjamin Burcli. 

November 19, 1802, Robert Brent, Mayor, advertised for bids to 
open West Fourteenth Street from North F Street to its extremitj', 
the bids all to be in by December 1, 1802. 

On this same day an act was passed by the Council to regulate 
weights and measures, which authorized the Mayor to procure com- 
plete sets of weights and measures according to the statute then in 
operation on this same subject in Maryland. The act also provided 
for the appointment of a sealer of weights and measures, and that 
all weights and measures in use should be rectified and branded before 
the 1st of February, 1803. 

January 7, 1803, a meeting of citizens of Washington and of 
Washington County was held for the purpose of petitioning Congress 
for a legislature for the Territory of Columbia, the committee ap- 
[)ointed to present the petition to Congress being composed of liobert 
Brent, Benjamin Moore, Nicholas King, Samuel II. Smith, and Augus- 
tus B. Woodw-ard. The election for members of the Council, held on 
Monda}', June 6, 1803, resulted in the return of William Brent, John 
P. Van Ness, John Hewitt, Samuel II. Smith, Nicholas King, Charles 
Menifee, Benjamin Moore, Daniel Rapine, Joel Brown, George Ilad- 
tield, Daniel Carroll, and Joseph Hodgson, all Republicans but the 
last two. The election passed ott' "with unsullied decorum and tran- 
quillity."' The President of tlie United States appointed Robert Brent 
to a second term as Mayor. Upon the organization of the Council 
John P. Van Ness was elected [(resident of the first chamber, and 

MrNiciiWL. 137 

Thomas Ilerty socretiiry, and Daniel Carroll president of the seeoiid 

Early in tlie histoi-}' of the city a fire com[)any was organized, tlie 
precise day, however, not being- obtainable; bnt an act was passed by 
the corporation Council in June, 1803, extending the time for procuring 
fire buckets to the first of the following October. In July, 1803, :in 
act was passed for the enumeration of tlie population of the city, and 
also one for the reassessment of the property of the city. In August an 
act was passed appropriating |600 toward erecting and repairing lamps 
in the city, and the Mayor was authorized to require such individual 
contributions as he might sec fit. In accordance with this act the 
Mayor did require that lamps should be on some of the public streets 
in front of an improved lot, and that persons applying for the digging 
of wells and the erection of lamps should contribute one-half the sum 
necessary to complete the work. 

In September, 1803, the trustees of the poor appointed were Peter 
Lenox, Josepli Mechlin, Griffith Coombes, George Blagden, and William 
Brent. In the same month an act was passed creating the office of 
superintendent of police. In November, 1803, an act was passed 
authorizing the Mayor to appoint two members of the board of 
appeal, since there had been no election of such board, in accordance 
with an act entitled, "An Act Supplementary to the Act Directing 
a New Assessment of Property and an Enumeration of the Inhabitants 
of the City," and the Mayor was empowered to extend the time for 
the performance of the duties enjoined by said acts for a period not 
to exceed two months. 

February 24, 1804, an act was passed l)y Congress supplementary 
to the act incorporating the inhabitants of Washington, in which it 
was provided that the provisions of the former act should be enforced 
for fifteen years after the end of that session of Congress, and also 
that the two chambers of Council should be composed of nine members, 
a majority of each being sufficient to transact business. Powers of 
inspection were given them, and to superintend the health of the 
city, to preserve the navigation of the liiver Potomac and the Ana- 
costia lliver, and providing that the levy court of the county of 
Washington should not thereafter possess the [)Ower to impose any 
tax on the inhabitants of the city of Washington, 

The result of the enumeration of the inhabitants of Washington 
as provided for by act of the Council, and published May 9, 1804, was 
found to be as follows: Total number of peo[»le, 4,352. Whites, males, 
1,902; females, 1,510. Slaves, males, 338; females, 379. Free blacks, 


males, 103; feiiiulos, 120. Whites, 3,412; slaves, 717; free blacks, 223. 
Ill 1800, the population was 3,210. 

At the lirst election held under tlie sup[)lenientan' charter, the 
t'ollowinii' u-entlemen were chosen members of the two chambers of 
the Council: First chamber, George Blagden, Samuel II. Smith, 
Joseph Bromley, S. N. Smallwood, Ileniw Ilerford, Daniel Rapine, 
Robert Alexandei", Cornelius Conyngham, and Thomas Carpenter; of 
the second chamber, William Brent, William Woodward, Alexander 
McCormick, Charles Jones, Nicholas King, James C. King, Joseph 
Hodgson, John Sinclair, and George Andrews. 

July 24, 1804, an act was passed by the corporation of Washing- 
ton to estal)lish lire wards and tire companies, as follows: Ward 
one, all that juirt of the city which lies west of Sixteenth Street 
West; ward two, bounded on the west by Sixteenth Street West, on 
the south by South G Street until it intersects AVest Third, and by 
said street from said intersection to the northern extremity thereof; 
ward three, all that })art of the city which lies southward of Soutli 
G Street; ward four, the rest of the city. The Mayor was required, 
by August 1, to appoint a suitable person in each of the above wards 
who should call the citizens together, and those assembled were to 
organize themselves into tire companies. Each })erson so ap[)ointed 
was to be a member of the board of tire directors, who were required 
to make an annual report. 

The trustees of the poor for 1805 were Peter Lenox, Henry Ingle, 
George GoUard, John Woodside, and William Brent. 

The result of the election for members of Council, which was 
held June 2, was as follows: First chamber, John Dempsie, Samuel 
X. Smallwood, Jeremiah Booth, Frederick May, William Prouf, 
Robert Alexander, Samuel II. Smith, James Iloban, and Thomas 
II. Gilliss. The second chamber was composed of John Sinclair, 
Matthew Wright, Alexander McCormick, Peter Lenox, Henry Her- 
ford, Pliineas Bradley, Joseph Bromley, Nicholas King, and Henry 
Ingle. T. H. Gilliss was chosen president of the first chamber, and 
Alexander McCormick of the second. Robert Brent was continued 
as Mayor, and Thomas Ilert}- as register. 

November 26, 1806, an act was passed establishing the eastern 
branch market at the market house on Market Square, the market 
to be held on Mondays, Wtnlnesdays, and Fridays, the Mayor being 
required to provide the necessar}' stalls, benches, scales, weights, and 

On March 19, 1807, the rules with regard to the size of bricks 


were cliiiiiged bv an act of the cor})()rati()ii. Tliu molds for brick 
making were by this act rc(|uired to be nine and one-eigbth inches 
long in the clear, four and three-eighths inches broad, and two and 
five-eighths inches deep. This rule was to go into effect Api-il 20, 

On tlie same day as above the citj' cor[)oration made regulations 
regarding the sweeping of chimneys, substantially as follows: The 
Mayor was authorized to make a contract with such pei'son as he 
might deem a })roper one, and to give to him the exclusive right to 
sweep the chimneys in Washington for a term not to exceed three 
years. The chimneys were to be swept once in each three months 
from the 1st day of April to the 1st day of October, and once in 
each two months the rest of the year, between five and seven o'clock 
in the morning, or at sucli time as the chimney sweep and the house- 
holder could agree upon. The chimney sweep was entitled to receive 
from the [)erson so contracting with him the sum of ten cents for each 
story of each fine or cliimney swept; and if any chimney or flue should 
take fire from the presence of soot in the chimney within two months 
from the last sweeping, then the chimney swee}> should pay a fine of 
$5, and if any chimney should take tire that had not been swept, 
then the owner of the house should })ay a fine of $5. As required 
to do, the Mayor, Robert Brent, gave notice to the citizens that he 
had made a contract for the sweeping of the chimneys with Job 
Ilaight, who would commence June 10, 1807. 

On Monday, June 1, 1807, an election was held for councilmen, and 
afterward Frederick May was made president of the first cluunber, 
and Charles Menifee of the second, liobert Brent was again appointed 
Mayor by tlie President of the United States, and Washington Boyd 
was made treasurer. During this year an act was passed by tlie 
Council to provide for the a})pointment by the Mayor of one commis- 
sioner from each ward, whose duty it should be to superintend the 
execution of all the laws of the Council, and to direct }u-osecutions 
for their infraction; to superintend the expenditure of all moneys 
appropriated by the Council for the opening or repair of streets, 
wharves, bridges, pumps, wells, springs, rivers, and creeks, and all 
appro[UMations not otherwise i>rovided for by law. 1\\ June, 1807, 
under this act the Mayor appointed from the First Ward, Michael 
Nourse; from the Second Ward, Thomas 11. Gilliss; from the Third 
Ward, Daniel Ka})ine; and from the Fourth Ward, George Gollard. 

In the early history of the city, the Council made a monthly 
"assize of bread." For January, 1808, loaves of bread were required 


to he of the following sizes: From iioiir worth $5 [)cr harrel, single 
loaf, 27 ounces; double loaf, 54 ounces. For Septenil)er, 1808, a 
single loaf was required to weigh 30 ounces, and a double loaf 60 
ounces, from flour worth from $4.50 to $5 per barrel. In March, 1810, 
from flour worth $7.25 per barrel, a single loaf was required to weigh 
19 ounces, and a double loaf 38 ounces. In November, 1812, from 
flour worth from $10 to $11 i)er l)arrel, a single loaf was required to 
weigh 12 ounces, and a double one 24 ounces. 

For August, 1813, from flour worth from $5.50 to $6 per barrel, a 
single loaf was required to weigh 23 ounces, and a double loaf 46 
ounces. For January, 1820, from flour worth from $5.50 to $6 per 
barrel, a single loaf was required to weigh 23 ounces, and a double 
loaf 46 ounces. 

A census of the city taken about the last part of the year 1807 
and the beginning of 1808 gave the following results: Whites, males, 
2,139; females, 2,009. Slaves, males, 409; females, 479. Free blacks, 
males, 126; females, 153. Free mulattoes, males, 95; females, 126. 
Slaves owned by non-residents, males, 55; females, 61. Total popu- 
lation of the city, 5,652. By wards the population was as follows: 
First Ward, 1,108; Second Ward, 1,447; Third Ward, 1,751; Fourth 
Ward, 1,346. 

After the election of councilmen, on VTonday, June 5, 1809, Robert 
Brent was again appointed Ma^'or. He was again appointed after the 
election for councilmen held on Monday, June 4, 1810. In June, 
1811, Mr. Brent peremptorily declined to serve longer as Mayor of 
the city. Whatever were the reasons that influenced Mr. Brent to 
refuse longer to serve in this capacity, it is certain that the citizens 
of Washington were not satisfled with their city's form of government, 
and especially with that feature of it which required the ['resident of 
the United States to appoint their Mayor; for being thus appointed, 
he was not responsible to them in the exercise of his powers and 
duties. They would much have preferred to be able to elect their own 
Mayor, and it was suggested that inasmuch as they could not do this, 
it would perhajis be well for them to indicate to the President whom 
they would prefer by having a kind of ([uasi election. After the 
election of councilmen held on Monday, June 3, 1811, the President 
appointed as Mayor Daniel Rapine. 

On October 31 and ISTovember 2, 1811, meetings were held, which 
were quite generally attended by the citizens, to take into considera- 
tion the propriety of making application to Congress to amend the 
act of incorporation. Dr. James II. Blake was chairman of the latter 


meeting, unci George Sweeney secretai-y. Tlie following resolutions 
were adopted: 

"Whereas, Experience having shown that various provisions of 
the act of incorporation are extremely defective, and particularly the 
present mode of electing the city Council on a general ticket, as pre- 
scribed by that instrument, having been productive of very injurious 
consequences to the interests of the city; therefore, 

'•'■ Resole ed., That the chairman of this meeting, together with two 
citizens to be chosen by each ward, be a committee to prepare a me- 
morial to Congress, praying that such alteration and amendments may 
be made in the act of incorporation as they may deem necessary." 

The committee as chosen was as follows: James Hoban, John 
Hewitt, Phineas Bradley, Henry Herford, Elias B. Caldwell, John 
Coyle, BuUer Cocke, and Joseph Cassin. The following resolution 
was then adopted: "Tliat the above named committee be authorized 
to receive the signatures of the citizens of Washington to the memo- 
rial which shall be prepared." 

In obedience to the request of the committee, a supplementary 
act was passed by Congress, May 4, 1812, by which the corporation 
was made to consist of a Mayor, a Board of Aldermen and a Common 
Council. The Board of Aldermen consisted of eight members elected 
for two years, and were required to be chosen from the wards in 
which they resided. The Common Council consisted of twelve mem- 
bers, three from each ward, and the Mayor was elected by the joint 
ballot of the members of the boards to serve for one year. 

Under the charter as amended in accordance with this petition, the 
first election was held on Monday, June ], 1812, resulting as follows: 

Aldermen — First Ward, John Davidson and James Hoban; Second 
Ward, Andrew Wa}', Jr., and Peter Lenox; Third Ward, Alexander 
McCormick and Daniel Rapine; Fourth Ward, Joseph Cassin and 
James S. Stevenson. 

Councilmen — First Ward, W. Worthington, Jr., Toppau Webster, 
and James Hoban; Second Ward, William James, James Hewitt, and 
R. C. Weightman; Third Ward, Edmund Law, George Blagden, and 
Benjamin G. Orr; Fourth Ward, John W. Brashear, Matthew Wright, 
and John Dobbyn. 

Alexander McCormick was elected president of the Board of 
Aldermen, and James Hewitt of the Board of Common Council. 

At tliis same time Daniel Rapine was elected Mayor, 

A census of the city was taken in 1810, resulting as follows: 
Whites, nuiles, 2,895; females, 3,009. Slaves, 1,437. All other persons. 


867. Total populution, 8,208. The total population of Georgetown 
was then 4,948; of Washington County outside of Washington and 
Georgetown, 2,315; of Alexandria, 7,227; of Alexandria County out- 
side of Alexandria, 1,325. Total population of the District of Col- 
umbia, 24,023. 

Dr. James H. Bhike was elected Mayor of the city, June 12, 
1813; June 6, 1814; June 12, 1815; June 3, 1816; and in June, 1817. 

Benjamin G. Orr was elected Mayor by the councils in June, 1818; 
Samuel X. Smallwood in June, 1819, and Mr. Smallwood held over 
in 1820, under a new charter just granted. 

The new charter granted the city b}' Congress, May 15, 1820, pro- 
vided that the Mayor should be elected by the people, to serve for 
two 3'ears from the second Monday in June. The Board of Aldermen 
was required to be composed of two members from each ward, to 
serve for two years, and were ex officio justices of the peace for the 
entire county. The Board of Common Council was to consist of three 
members from each ward, to serve for one year. Every free white 
male citizen of the United States of lawful age, having resided within 
the city one year previous to the election, and being a resident of 
the ward in which he offered to vote, having been assessed on the 
books of the corporation for the j'ear on the 31st of December pre- 
ceding the election, ami having paid all taxes due on personal property 
when legally rerpiii'cd to pay the same, was entitled to vote for Mayor 
and members of the two bojirds. 

B}' this act the city was divided into six wards. All that part 
of the cit\' to the westward of Fifteenth Street West constituted the 
First Ward. The Second Ward contained all that part eastward of 
Fifteenth Street and westward of Tenth Street West. Tlie Third 
Ward contained all tiiat part east of Tenth Street West, west of First 
Street West, and north of E Street Soutii; the Fourth Ward, all 
that part to the eastward of First Street West, westward of Eighth 
Street East, and north of E Street South; the Fifth Ward, all 
that part east of Tenth Street West, west of Fourth Street East, and 
south of E Street South. The Sixth Ward contained all the rest of 
the city. 

Section 1 of this act provided that all the officers in office at the 
time of its passage should continue in office until the expiration of 
their respective terms, and that all their acts done in pursuance of 
former acts of incorporation, and not inconsistent with the new 
charter, should be valid. 

Section 2 provided that the name of the corporation sliould be 

.)// WICIPAL. 143 

"The Mayor, Board of Aldermen, and Boai'd of CoiiHiioii Comieil of 
the City of Washington.'' 

Section 3 provided that the Mayor shonhl be elected biennially, 
commencing on the first Monday in June, 1820, and that in case of a 
tie in the popular vote the Boards of Aldermen and Common Council 
should determine by joint ba1h)t which should serve. 

By this charter the city was divided into six wards, two aldermen 
being chosen to represent each ward, and three common council men. 
Under this charter tlie government of the city was a very complicated 
piece of machinery, as may be seen by the following list of alder- 
men, councilmen, etc. 

Aldermen — First Ward, James H, Handy and J. W. Moulder; 
Second Ward, James Hoban and Thomas II. Gilliss; Third Ward, 
R. C. Weightman and W. W. Seaton; Fourth Ward, Henry Tims 
and iSTicholas L. Queen; Fifth Ward, Daniel Carroll, of Duddington, 
and Thomas Dougherty; Sixth Ward, William Prout and Israel Little. 

Common Councilmen — First Ward, Thomas Carberrj^ Josiah Tay- 
lor, and Satterlee Clark; Second Ward, John McClelland, Henry 
Smith, and John Strother; Third Ward, Hanson Gassawaj-, Samuel 
Burch, and George Sweeney; Fourth Ward, Dr. Andrew Hunter, 
John Ingle, and Benjamin Burch; Fifth Ward, Richmond Johnston, 
Dr. C. B. Hamilton, and James Middleton; Sixth Ward, Gustavus 
Higdon, Adam Lindsaj', and Benjamin Bryan. 

Register, William Hewitt; health officer. Dr. Henry Hunt; sur- 
veyor, Joseph Elgar; inspector of tobacco, Samuel P. Lowe; sealer 
of weights and measures, Jacob Leonard; inspectors of Hour, Samuel 
Mclntire and William A. Scott; members of the board of appeal, 
John Davidson, Peter Lenox, Frederick May, and Matthew Wright; 
commissioners of wards: First Ward, Samuel Ilarkness; Second 
Ward, Edward G. Handy; Third Ward, Joseph Dougherty; Fourth 
Ward, Henry Ingle; Fifth Ward, John Van Riswick; Sixth Ward, 
John B. Forrest; inspectors of lumber, Thomas Sandiford, ^w, 
Thomas Wilson, Leonard Harbaugh, Benjamin Bryan, and William 
II. Barnes; wood corders and coal measurers, Thomas Taylor, Jr., 
Thomas Burch, George Sanford, William Wise, Benjamin Bryan, and 
John B. Ferguson; gangers, Samuel Mclntire and William H. Barnes; 
commissioners of the West Burial Ground, David Easton, Robert 
King, and Benjamin M. Belt; commissioners of the East Burial 
Ground, John Crabb, John Chalmers, and Daniel Rapine; sexton of 
the West Burial Ground, Alexander Watson; sexton of the East 
Burial Ground, Benson McCormick; clerk of the AVest ALarkct 


House, Philip Williams; clerk of the Center Market House, John 
Waters; clerk of the Capitol Hill Market House, Benson McCormick; 
clerk of the Eastern Branch Market House, Peter Little. 

Under this charter the Major served two years, as also did the 
members of the Board of Aldermen, after the rotation was established. 
In 1822, Thomas Carberry was elected Mayor to succeed Mr. Small- 
wood, and in 1824 R. C. Weightman was elected to succeed Mr. 

In March, 1824, the citizens of Alexandria, becoming tired of 
being in the District of Columbia, made an attempt to have Alex- 
andria retroceded to Virginia. A meeting was held on the 9th of 
that month for the purpose of preparing a memorial to Congress on 
the subject. Tliomson F. Mason was chairman of the meeting, and 
P. R. Fendall secretary. The memorial as drawn up set forth that 
the citizens of Alexandria Count}^ were deprived of their constitutional 
rights without the existence or assumption of authority of the people 
of the United States to do so; but by what seemed to them to be an 
oversight of the framers of the Constitution of the United States. The 
citizens of Alexandria could not presume that the framers of the 
Constitution, who had just previously been engaged in a struggle 
for liberty for themselves, would designedly deprive others of that 
precious boon, which they had done in the case of the inhabitants 
of the District of Columbia, by the imposition of taxes upon an 
unrepresented community, for this was the very grievance which 
produced the Revolution, etc. 

An adverse meeting was held March 11, over which Phineas 
Janne}^ presided, and of which Nathaniel S. Wise was the secretary . 
The object of the meeting was fully stated by Robert I. Taylor, who 
explained what disadvantages the citizens of Alexandria County would 
labor under if the proposed retrocession of the county should become 
an accomplished fact. A memorial against the movement was drawn 
up and a committee a})pointed to present it to Congress. 

The proposed retrocession was defeated at that time by a vote 
of the people of 404 against it to 286 for it, but at length, in 1846, 
nnother movement for the same purpose was inaugurated, and was 

Mayor R. C. Weightman was reelected in June, 1826, and on 
July 20, 1827, Mayor Weightman was elected cashier of the Bank 
of Washington, and resigned his position, to be succeeded by Joseph 
Gales, Jr. In June, 1828, Mr. Gales was elected to the position 
for two years, and was reelected in 1830 for two years more. 


On June 4, 1832, John P. Van Ness was elected Mayor; on June 
2, 1834, William A. Bradley was elected to the position, and in 
June, 1836, Peter Force was elected by a vote of 570, to 337 cast for 
II. M. Moriit. 

Mr. Force, in his inaugural, congratulated the citizens upon having 
been relieved of a heavy burden. In 1828, the city liad made a large 
subscription to the stock of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, 
to which subscription that great work owed its existence. The subscrip- 
tion carried with it obligations greater tiian tiie city could carry. The 
responsibilities growing out of this subscription were rendered greater 
than they would otherwise have been by the hostile proceedings of a 
rival company, whicli interrupted the prosecution of the work for 
years, and for each year that the work was delayed Washington City, 
the wealthiest of all the parties connected with the su])scription to the 
stock of the company, though one of tlie largest contributors, lost in 
the aggregate about $50,000 })er year. But now the United States 
had assumed the payment of the interest of this subscription on the 
pledge and deposit of its stock in the company; still the corporation 
owed on its subscription about |450,000, and at the same time it was 
possible that by a change in circumstances the city miglit derive no 
benetit from the canal, and Mr. Force advised the most rigid economy 
and the limiting of expenditures to the smallest possible amount. 

On Monday, June 1, 1840, W. W. Seaton was elected Mayor of 
the city. Previously to this election there had been great excitement 
in political circles, in the District of Columbia as elsewhere in the 
United States. The financial measures of President Jackson's two 
administrations, and tlie practical continuation of the same destructive 
policy by Mr. A-^an Buren's administration, aroused the people to such 
an extent that they were determined to throw oft" the incubus of a 
"democratic" government, which was, in fact, a democratic government 
only in name, being in realit}' a monarchy in disguise. In the city 
of Washington, this feeling succeeded in electing Mr. Seaton Mayor, 
he being a determined and outspoken Whig. With reference to this 
election, Hon. William Cost Johnson, of Maryland, in an address to 
the people of the District of Columbia, quoted from elsewhere, with 
reference to the powers of Congress with regard to the banking institu- 
tions of the District of Columbia, said, under date of July 22, 1840: 

"But not satisfied with destroying the banking institutions of the 
District, in punishment of the people, the administration Senate really 
passed to a third reading a bill to abolish the present cluirter of 
tlie city of Wasliington, and to cause a new election for Mayor of the 


city to be lield in October next, beciiuse tbe people bad selected only 
a few weeks ago a Wbig Mayor to serve for two years from tbe day 
of election; and containing, besides, fejitures virtuall}' depriving every 
master of control over bis servant, wbicb no one but an abolitionist 
could bave urged, or a Soutbern Jacobin bave supported,'' etc. 

Anotlier, a citizen of tbe District, called for a convention of tbe 
people, from tbe corporations witbin tbe District, for tbe purpose ot 
expressing tlieir indignation at tbe treatment tbey bad received from 
Congress, and a writer in tbe public [)ress said: "Till 1829, tbe people 
of tbe District, and especially of Wasbington, bad always been friendl}' 
to tbe administration of tbe Government, and tbe administration bad 
always been friendly to tbe people, regarding tbem witb a kind of 
parental attacbment. Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Adams did 
wbat tbey could to give an impetus to its imj)rovemeuts; but tbe 
Hun, Attila, came, and swept like a destructive avalancbe over tbe fair 
face of tbe land under tbe plea of democracy, and clotbed witb tbe 
power wbicb popularity gave bim, be 'played sucb fantastic tricks 
before bigb beaven as made tbe angels weep.' Almost every family 
was more or less affected by bis wild and reckless despotism. He was 
followed by tbe Nortbern man witb Soutbern principles, wbo professed 
to follow in tbe footsteps of bis illustrious predecessor, and wbo bas 
brougbt tbe country and tbe District, as well as tbe Government, to 
bankruptcy and ruin by tbe folly of liis measures, and bis profligate 
and useless extravagance in tbe expenditure of tbe public money," etc. 

A public meeting of tbe citizens of tbe District of Columbia wbo 
were over twenty-one years of age, and wbo were opposed to tlie tlien 
recent ruinous legislation of Congress toward tbis District, by wbicb 
tbe business, trade, and industry of tbe community bad been pros- 
trated, was beld on Monday, July 27, 1840, in front of tbe City 
Hall, to give voice to tbeir wM'ongs, and to endeavor peacefully to 
devise a remedy for tbem. Of tbis meeting W. W. Seaton was made 
cbairman and Walter Lenox secretary. Samuel H. Smitb subTuitted 
a series of resolutions, wbicb were in substance as follows: Tbat tbe 
course pursued by tbe late Congress toward tbe District of Columbia 
was insulting to tbe cbaracter of tbe people of tbe District, derogatory 
to tbeir rigbts, and subversive of tbeir prosperity; tbat in it tbe meet- 
ing bebeld a total disregard of tbe principles of justice and tbe calls 
of bumanity, connected witb a stern purpose to punisb sixty tbousand 
people for tbe exercise of tbeir undoubted rigbt to tbiidc and to speak 
freely of public men and public measures; and tbat tbe meeting 
would ap}H)iiit live delegates from eacii ward of tbe city, to attend a 


convention of deleg-utcs to assemble in Washington on the second 
Monday (lOtli) of Augnst, and invited tlie citizens of Georgetown 
and Alexandria to ap[toint delegates to the said convention, foi' the 
purpose of adopting such measures as the alarming crisis in the att'airs 
of the District seemed to render expedient. 

A committee of one from each waivl was then a[t[)ointed to 
name a list of delegates to attend the proposed convention, the 
delegates as named by this committee l)eing as follows: First Ward, 
Samuel II. Smitli, Benjamin 0. Taylor, William Easby, Alexander 
Mclntire, and Thomas Mnnroe; Second Ward, John McClelland, An- 
thony Preston, William II. Gunnell, Wallace Kirkwood, and William 
M. McCauley; Third Ward, Walter Jones, Joseph 11. Bradley, John 
C. Harkness, Jacob A. Bender, and John C. McKelden; Fourth 
Ward, Dr. Frederick May, Henry J. Brent, George Watterston, Jolm 
Kedgely, and W. McGill; Fifth Ward, Daniel Carroll, of Duddington, 
Thomas Blagden, John W. Martin, Griffith Coombes, and Tliomns 
B. Riley; Sixth Ward, Noble Young, James Marsliall, Dr. Alexander 
McWins, Robert Clarke, and Robert Coombs. 

The chairman and secretary of the meeting were then added to 
the list of delegates, and then, by resolution, the grateful thanks of the 
meeting were tendered to Hon. William D. Merrick, clniirman of the 
District Committee of the Senate, and to Hon. William Cost John- 
son, cliairman of the District Committee of the House of Representa- 
tives, and their zealous friends of ])oth Houses of Congress^ for their 
generous and manly resistance to the aggressive measures attempted 
to be ado[)ted witli reference to tlie District. 

The citizens of Georgetown held a meeting, July 21, for the 
purpose of giving expression to tlieir sentiments as to the course of 
Congress. Their meeting was held in front of the Mayor's otHce, and 
in obedience to a call issued on the 18th of tlie montli. At this 
meeting a committee on resolutions was appointed, and instructed 
to report to an adjourned meeting to be held in the Lancasterian 
Schoolhouse, July 23. This committee was composed of Samuel Mc- 
Kenny, John Marbury, William Laird, Henry Addison, and Judson 
Mitchell. The resolutions reported by this committee were as follows: 

"1. That the surrender of the rights of self-government bv the 
people of the District of Columbia to the people of the United States, 
to enable them to carry into practical operation the principles of the 
Government devised by the Constitution of the United States, was a 
great personal and political sacrifice, and merited a kind, liberal, and 
generous consideration in rc'turn: l)nt has l)eeii ]iai(l by tlu' mnjoi'ity 


of tlie })reseiit Congress with indignity, insults, wrong, and oppression, 
of which it becomes us to speak with temperate, but at the same 
time witli indignant, reprehension, and to which no citizen of the 
District of Cohim])ia having any interest in its prosperity can patiently 

"2. That the people of the District, in common with the people 
of the States, are of right free, and equally with the latter entitled 
to the benefits of the laws suited to promote their ha}ipiness and 
welfare; that the Congress of the United States has refused to the 
people laws by them deemed absolutely necessary to their liappiness 
and prosperity, and such as exist in every State in the Union, and 
have thereby failed to discharge their solemn duty, wantonlj- and 
wickedly exposing the people of this District to ruinous embarrass- 
ment and distress. 

"3. That we trace the whole of tlie wrongs and evils of which, 
we complain to the subjection of the people of this District to the 
exclusive legislation of Congress, the members of which, being chosen 
by strangers, are without the knowledge of our wants or in sympathy 
with our condition; and we are confident that we cannot be contented 
and prosperous so long as so unjust and intolerable a mode of gov- 
ernment is allowed to continue. 

"4. That the only remedy from the evils which we now suffer, 
and the only mode of securing permanent and general prosperity to 
our town, is retrocession to Maryland; and with a view to effect a 
measure so indispensable to our interests, the following address to the 
citizens of the United States at large, and to Maryland in particular, be 
adopted at this meeting, and signed by the president and secretary, 
and printed under their direction; and that a copy be forwarded to 
the governor of each State, with a request that lie will lay the same 
before the legislature of his State at the next meeting." 

"An Address to Our Countrymen Throughout the Twenty-six 
States of the Union, and to Maryland, in Particular," was then read 
by William Laird, Esq., and was afterward published, together with 
the above resolutions. The address was as follows: 

" We, the citizens of Georgetown, in the District of Columbia, in 
town meeting asseml)led on this 23x1 day of July, 1840, have resolved 
to address you in the following terms: 

"A provision in the Constitution grants to Congress the power 
'to exercise exclusive legislation in all classes whatsoever over such 
district not exceeding ten miles square as may, by cession of particular 
States and the accciitancc of Congress, become the seat ot government 

MrMc/iwi.. 140 

of the United Stutets.' We ure tlius left entirely at the mercy of the 
Legishitiire of the Union, without a representative on the floor, with- 
out a voice in tlieir counsels, — dependent altogether on tlieir will 
and pleasui'e, on their wisdom and justice, for action, beneficial or 
otherwise, o})erating on our interests and immediately affecting our 
prosperity and happiness. 

"We, a trading and commercial community, have for a long time 
had banks among us, those indispensable prerequisites for mercantile 
operations and facilities. The law chartering the one we now have 
was signed by James Madison; the laws rechartering it were signed 
by James Monroe, and twice by Andrew Jackson, Previously to the 
ex[)iration of the charter of this bank a memorial numerously signed 
by the citizens was presented to Congress, praying in the most respect- 
ful manner for a recharter, and stating the fact that the institution 
was perfectly able and willing to resume the payment of specie on its 
notes as soon as the neighboring banks of Virginia and Maryland 
paid the same on theirs. A petition was also presented by the bank 
for a recharter, to include as a feature of it the immediate resumption 
of specie payments on all its notes. Nevertheless, our prayer for a 
recharter, as well as the prayer of every one of the other five banks 
of the District for the same, was rejected, and nothing whatever 
granted to the banks but the privilege of having a specified time 
wherein to close u[) their concerns; and this through the votes and 
infiuence of members of the Senate, who insist on the destruction of 
all banks as a policy of the administration." 

The above is only a })art of the address, which was very long. 

But perhaps the most remarkable thing connected with the atti- 
tude of Congress toward the [»eople of the District of Columbia during 
the remarkable sessi(ni of 1839-40, which has heretofore been adverted 
to in an extract from an address by Hon. William Cost Johnson, was 
the attempt, which came near succeeding, to grant a new cliarter to 
the city of Washington. The charter under which the city was then 
operating was granted to it May 15, 1820,^ and by its terms was to 
continue in force for and during the term of twenty years, and until 
Congress by law should determine otherwise. Here, then, was a fine 
opportunity for a few of its citizens, the population being then about 
twentj'-five thousand, to memorialize Congress for a new cliarter, and 
accordingly, such a memorial was presented to Congress, signed by 
about four hundred of the citizens. This memorial, or petition, insteiid 
of being refei'red to the standing committee on the District of Colum- 
bia, as was the usual and proper course with such petitions, was 


referred to ii select eoiuinittee, with Mr. Xorvell, of Mieliigiiii, as its 

The bill rej^orted by the coiiiniittee was very elaborate and vohiiiii- 
uous, containing five ov six sections more than the charter whicli it 
was designed to snpersede. The section which declared the con- 
tinuance of the charter for twenty years, or indetinitely without 
Congressional action, was inserted in the new bill and altered to ten 
years, with a reservation to Congress to alter or repeal it at any time; 
and thus, while the new act was entitled, "An Act to Amend and 
Continue in Force the Act to Incorporate the Inliabitants of Washing- 
ton," yet, in fact, it was one merely to amend, and not to continue in 

But the most amazing and mischievous feature of tlie bill, and 
the one which aroused the inhabitants of the city of Washington, as 
had perhaps nothing ever done or attempted to be done before, to a 
realizing sense of the danger which they liad so narrowly escaped, — for 
the friends of the bill did not succeed in getting it through Congress, — 
was that with reference to slaves in the city of Washington. The 
people of the city were then almost universally op[)osed to the aboli- 
tion of slavery in the District. In the old bill or charter careful 
discrimination was made as to the ditferent modes in which slaves 
an<] free persons were to be dealt with or punished. The corporation 
•was empowered to prohibit the nightly or other disorderly meet- 
ings of slaves, free negroes, or mulattoes, and to })unish the slaves by 
whipping and im}»risonment, and the free negroes by pecuniary tines; 
and such slaves as should commit offenses against municipal oixlinances 
as would im[tose tines upon others might l)e subject to corporal pun- 
ishment, unless the masters should come forward and })ay the lines. 

In the proposed new charter of the city, eveiw [trovision relating 
to slaves was ex})ungedl Every clause and })art of a clause in which 
the word slace occurred was carefulh' picked out, here and there 
through the section, and it was impossible to believe otherwise than 
that these omissions were from design. This coui'se would have 
resulted in the practical abolition of slavei'y within the District. It 
would have amounted to a renunciation on the part of Congress of 
the recognition l>y that Ijody of any such thing as slavery, or of any 
such pro[>erty as slave pro})erty, and would have amounted to a dec- 
laration that slavery could not in the nature of things be established 
or permitted by an}' human institution, and that human laws yield to 
the })aramount force of the natural or divine law. 

The bill was passed to a thii'd reading by the unanimous vote of 

.]r('N/C/P.IL. 151 

the Democratic I'arty in the Seimte, uiul aiaoiiu" those who thus voted 
were several Senators from shive States, who, it seemed to the people 
of the District most natural to infer, were not in the dark as to the 
effect of tiie proposed charter ui)on slave property. However, the next 
day after tlie passage of the hill to a third reading, a Southern 
Senator who had voted for the l)ill renewed a motion to lay it on 
the table, previously made by one of the minority without success, and 
it was laid on the table accordingly. But for this motion it would 
have passed. But yet during the recess of Congress for the summer 
of 1840, this proposed new charter, with its clause abolishing slavery 
in the city of Washington, still, like the sword of Dionysius over the 
neck of Damocles, hung over their devoted heads, and they might 
well, as they did, feel considerable anxiety as to the fate of this 
obnoxious measure when Congress should again convene. Though 
ui>on reflection it should have occurred to them, and doubtless would 
have occurred to them but for the excess of their injured party feel- 
ings, that before the next session of Congress should commence the 
Senators from the Southern States would find out how nearly they had 
been trapped into voting for a bill which would have accomplished at 
one sweep the very thing which they had been voting against for 
years, and which they could not have sanctioned without going back 
on their own record, and without at the same time injuring to a 
greater or less extent the safety of slave property in the States.' 

The people of the District took great interest in the politics of 
the time, being as a general thing in favor of the election of Harrison 
and Tyler, as President and Vice-President respectively. One of the 
clubs organized was named the " Washington City Tippecanoe Club," 
organized September 18, 1840. John Tyler, in passing through the city 
on his way to Columbus, Ohio, was invited to address the club, and 
accepting the invitation, spoke fully and feelingl}- of the troubles of the 
District, and joined his voice with the voices of others in various parts 
of the country who had greeted and cheered the independent spirit of 
the people of the District in the assertion of and demand for their 
rights. Of this club John A. Blake was president; Robert W. Bates, 
II. W. Queen, Jacob Gideon, Jr., and Richard II. Stewart, vice-presi- 
dents; J. L. Henshaw, corres})onding secretary; and Wallace Kirk- 
wood, treasurer. There was in addition to these oflicei's an executive 
committee of thirteen. 

1 The hihitory of emancipation in tlie District of Columbia, which was etiected 
some twenty years later, will l)e presented in a subsequent chapter. 


On Saturday, October 3, this club raised a spacious log cabin and 
a handsome liberty pole on the vacant ground between the Center 
Market and Pennsylvania Avenue. The cabin was forty feet front by 
fifty feet in depth, fronting on Pennsylvania Avenue, and built in 
regular log-cabin style, with a platform in front for public speaking. 
The liberty pole was one hundred and seven feet higli, and it was 
surmounted by a streamer bearing the inscription, '-Harrison and 
Tyler." The stars and stripes were afterward elevated above the 
streamer. The cabin was used as a meeting room for the club, and as 
a reading and intelligence room for the Wliigs generally throughout 
the presidential contest. The first meeting which took place in this 
cabin was on Saturday evening after the raising of it, upon which 
occasion speeches were made by General Walter Jones, Richard S. 
Coxe, and Robert Ould. 

On Saturday morning, Xovember 7, 1840, it was finally ascertained 
that William Henry Harrison was elected President of the United 
States, and the rejoicing of the people of this District knew no bounds; 
for, having suffered from the effects of President Jackson's policy 
toward them, they fully realized from what they had escaped. 

John W. Maury served as Mayor of the city from June, 1852, to 
June, 1854. John T. Towers was elected Mayor in 1854. In June, 
1856, W. B. Magruder was elected Mayor, by a vote of 2,936, over 
Silas B. Hill, who received but 2,904 votes. At the election which 
occurred on Monday, June 1, 1857, there was a serious riot, resulting 
in the death of several citizens and the wounding of others. The 
principal cause of the unusual excitement [(receding this election and 
of the riot while it was in progress, arose from the heated discussion 
of the question as to whether naturalized citizens should exercise their 
right of suffrage, the Know-nothing Party being to a considerable 
extent bitterly opposed to such exercise. Trouble was anticipated for 
some days prior to the election, and everything that could be done 
was done to prevent any outbreak and to calm the excitement, 
especially by the press. These papers, however, did not know that 
arrangements had been made to introduce "bands of intrusive 
strangers" from abroad to interfere with the elections in this city. 
By the earliest train, however, and on subsequent trains, bands of 
ill-looking men, mostly a year or two under age, with the generic and 
suggestive title of "Plug Uglies,"" arrived from Baltimore, crowding 
the sidewalks, and giving every indication of being able and willing 
to carr}- out any instructions they might have received, or might 
receive, from heachpiarters. About 0:30 A. M., at the first precinct of 


the Fourth Ward, a siuhloii attack was rna(U' n[»()M a naturalized 
citizen in the ranks of the voters, and an effort was made to di'ive 
all such voters from the polls. In this onslaught, and in tlie defense 
which it rendered necessary, several citizens were wounded, natives 
as well as naturalized. Richard Owens, commissioner of the ward, 
was badly shot in tlie arm and wounded in the head; F. A. Klopfer 
was struck in the forehead by a slung-sliot; George D. Spencer was seri- 
ously bruised by a stone; Justice Goddard was struclv in several places 
with bricks; Justice Donn was similarly wounded with stones; Officer 
II. Degges, Policeman Birckhead, and Chief of Police Baggott were 
all more or less severely wounded and driven from the field. The 
result of all this was that naturalized citizens became badly demoral- 
ized and generally retired from the scene. 

About 10:30 a. m., the imported rowdies a})peared at tlie lower 
precinct of the Second Ward, wliere they fired about a dozen pistol 
shots, one of them talcing effect in the foreliead of a bystander. licp- 
resentations being about this time made to tlie Mayor that it was 
impossible to Iceep the polls open at the first precinct of the Fourth 
Ward, that official made application to the President of the United 
States for the services of the company of marines then in the city, to 
maintain the peace. This request of Mayor Magruder was referred 
to the Secretary of the Navy, who promptly ordered out one hundred 
and ten of the marines, under the command of Major Tyler and Cap- 
tain Maddox, and placed them at the disposal of the Mayor. The 
marines were marched to the precinct in question, accompanied bv 
General Henderson in citizen's clothes. As soon as it became known 
that the marines had been ordered out, a number of young men 
secured possession of a six-pound brass swivel gun, and hitching a 
long cord to it, di'agged it along Seventh Street, with the avowed 
object of resisting the marines. Upon arriving at the polling place 
in the first precinct of the Foui'th Ward, the marines, who were 
accompanied by the Mayor, the corporation attorney. Marshal Hoover, 
Ex-Marshal Wallach, Captain Baggott, and several otlier policemen, 
found the swivel i>arty on tlie ground, with their gun on the 
sidewalk, under the shed of the JSTorthern Liberties Market House. 
The Mayor ordered the polling place to be opened, and was informed 
by the opponents of naturalized citizens voting that that should not 
take place. About one thousand five hundred persons were present, 
whom the Mayor then addressed; but his address, instead of quieting 
tlieni and calming the disturbance, only served to excite the angry 
crowd the more. Soon the order was given to capture the swivel 

154 ///STORY O/^ ]\',lS///XGTON. 

gun, uud a section of the niarinos, under Major T^'ler, advanced for 
tills purpose with fixed bayonets, which induced the abandonment of 
tlie cannon and the retirement of the party in charge. This party, 
however, in retiring, hurled volleys of stones, and tired u[)on the 
marines with revolvers, one of them being shot in the jaw. The order 
was then given to the marines to fire upon the crowd, which order 
being obeyed, two persons immediately fell on Massacliusetts Avenue, 
and in cither dii-ections many were shot, and several of them moi'tally 
wounded. The crowd thereupon took to flight in all directions, and 
the mai'ines were marclied back to the City Hall. 

There were killed in this riot and its suppression the following 
persons: A Mr. Allison, aged fifty-five years; F. M. Deems, a clerk 
in the General Land Office; Archibald Dalrymple, baggage-master on 
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; a colored man mimed Neale, from 
the northern liberties; anotlier colored man from Georgetown, named 
l\edding; an infant child was killed on English Hill, and several were 
severely wounded. The [)olls at the first precinct were reopened about 
three o'clock in the afternoon, and remained open until the legal hour 
for closing ari'ived. The "i*lug Uglies," finding themselves so unwel- 
come in the city and their disinterested services in the cause of 
"Americanism"' so disappointingly unappreciated, silently and slyly 
stole away, some of them walking to Bladensburg and others jump- 
ing upon the cars just as the train was starting from the depot for 
Baltimore. In order to insure the safety of the citizens fVom further 
attack, nuiny of whom had been personally threatened with violence, a 
strong body of Major French's flying artillery was brought down from 
Fort McHenry, arriving here in the evening of election day. No 
further trouble was ex[)erienced however from the Baltimore immi- 
grants at that time. 

But the Know-nothing sentiment had not expired wlien the 
election for Mayor occurred in June, 1858. The opposing candidates 
for the mayoralty at that time were the then late postmaster of 
Washington, James G. I3errett, Anti-Know-nothing candidate, and Ex- 
Marshal Richard Wallach, of the District of Columbia, the Republican 
candidate. The result of the election was that Mr. Berrett was elected 
by a vote of 3,688 to Mr. Wallach's 3,117. 

In June, 1860, the same contest was waged over again, between 
the same candidates for Mayor, James G. Berrett receiving 3,434 votes 
to 3,410 for Richard Wallach. William B. Magruder, as an inde- 
pendent candidate, i-cceived 147 votes. Mr. Wallach then gave notice 
that he would contest the election of Mr. Berrett on the ground of 

MrXIClPAI.. 155 

t'nuid. This promised or threatened contest, however, never came to 
trial, because Mayor Berrett, on Saturday, August 24, 1861, was arrested 
at his residence by a })ortion of the Provost Marshal's guard, and taken 
to Fort Lafayette, he liaving several days previously refused to take 
the oath [)rescribed by act of Congr(!ss for members of the board of 
l)oliee commissioners. Both branches of the city Council were there- 
upon convened in special session to [>erform the duties devolving upon 
them in consequence of the Mayor's arrest. The residence of the 
Mayor, though searched, furnished no evidence of complicity with 
the Rebellion. Mr. Berrett also said that he was a strong Union man. 
But it being necessary that there should be a Mayor to execute the 
laws of the corporation, the two boards, on the 2(3th of the month, 
elected Richard Wallach to till that ofiice until the regular Mayor's 
return. James M. Carlisle, corpoi'ation attorney, resigned his positi(jn 
and Joseph H. Bradley was appointed to the place, September 1, 1801. 
Mayor Berrett was released from })rison. He resigned the m:iyoralt}- 
on the 14th, and returned to Washington on the 16th. The Mayor's 
resignation did not reach the city until the 23d, and then the question 
arose as to whether the city had a Mayor. The corporation attorney 
decided, liowever, that Mr. Wallach was Mayor according to law, 
because Ma3'or Berrett had resigned, and hence had no claim to the 
office. Notwithstanding this opinion of the attorney, the two councils, 
in order to make assurance doubly sure, on October 17, 1861, elected 
Mr. Wallach to the cjffice, to till out the unexpired term of Mayor 

At the election held in June, 1862, Mr. Wallach was elected by 
the [>(»pular vote to the office, receiving 3,850 votes to 058 cast for 
James F. Ilallida}'. (Jn June 6, 1864, Mayor Wallach was again 
reelected to the office by a vote of 3,347 to 2,373 cast for John II. 
Semmes. June 4, 1866, Mr. Wallacii was once more reelected Mayor 
of Washington by a vote of 3,621 to 1,345 for Mr. Easby. 

It is altogether likely that in 1868 greater interest was attached to 
the election of Mayor than at any other such election. The reason 
for this was that the negroes voted that year for the first titne. The 
registration showed the following state of things as to the number of 
negroes having the ' right to vote: In the First Ward the negro 
majority was 218; in the Second Ward the white majorit}' was 176; 
in the Third Ward, 1,031; in the Fourth Ward, 1,310; in the Fifth 
Ward, 593; in the Sixth Ward, 1,076, and in the Seventh Ward, 263. 
Total white majority, 4,231. It therefore appeared clear that if the 
white voters chose to do so they could defeat any candidate the negroes 

156 H/SrORY OF U'.LSffLYGrON. 

f'a\'i)rc(l. The two ciindidates for Mayor were, on the [lart of the 
Deinoerats, John T. Given, and on the [)art of tlie llepablicans, Sayles 
J. Bowen. On the face of the returns Mi*. Bowen was elected by a 
majority of 83; the vote being 1,280 to 1,147. Tlie Council, however, 
was Democratic l)y a small majorit}', and they had to appoint a joint 
committee to count the ballots. The National Intelligencer said, "It 
is to be hoped they will perform their duty, as there may have been 
mistakes made by the judges." While the count of the vote was in 
progress the Republican members of the Boards of Aldermen and 
Common Council declared Mr. Bowen Mayor jno tempore, and the 
Democratic members similarly declared W. W. Moore Mayor pro 
tempore, each protesting against the illegalit}' of the other's action. 
Mr. Bowen oljtained possession of the Mayor's office and proceeded 
to act as Mayor. 

On account of the difficult}' thus existing, the councils, in joint 
convention, on June 11, elected a Mayor ad i)iterini, in the person of 
Thomas E. Lloyd, On Saturda}', June 13, Mr. Lloyd, as Mayor ad 
interim, waited upon Mr. Bowen as Mayor de facto, and handed him 
a communication demanding of him the possession of the office, which 
Mr. Bowen refused to grant. Mr. Lloyd then called upon Major 
A. C. Richai'ds, chief of })olice, and protested against the presence 
of metropolitan policemen as guards at the City Hall, to which Major 
liichards replied that the board of police commissioners would be in 
session on the 18th, and that he would lay the communication before 
them. On the 18th the city councils deposed Frederick A. Boswell 
fi-om his office as register of the cit}-, for failure to })erform his duties 
in connection with tlie election of June 1, 1808, in that he did not 
notify certain individu^ds of their election as he was required by law 
to do, and a committee on the part of the Boards of Aldermen and 
Common Council submitted charges against Major Richards for unlaw- 
ful acts in connection with the performance of his duties. The result 
of the struggle between the parties was that Mr. Bowen served as 
Mayor from that time to June, 1870. 

Early in January, 1870, the movement directed toward a cliange 
in the form of the government of the District of Columbia received 
an impetus which carried it forward to success. A meeting of citizens 
was held, January 12, for the [)urpose of securing this I'eorganization, 
at which there were present S. P. Brown, Dr. Lindsley, W. II. Phillips, 
A. R. Shepiierd, Ilallet Kilbourn, William P>. Todd, William II. Ten- 
ney, J. A. Magruder, Esau Pickrell, and Dr. Charles II. Nichols. A 
committee of live [)ei'sons was appointed at this meeting to draft a 

MlWldPAL. 157 

l)ill providing tluit tlio Disti-ict of Columbiii sliould bo jn'ovided witli a 
Territoi-ial tbrni of govcninient, siinilar to that of the several Tcrritoi-ies 
of tlie United States, consolichitiiig tlie tliree municipal governments 
then existing into this one government, except that the governor 
and the upper branch of the legislature should be appointed by the 
President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate, and 
the lower branch of the legislature and a delegate to Congress should 
be elected by the people. Meetings were held by different classes of 
citizens, some in favor of the change in the form of government, and 
others in opposition thereto. At length, about February 1, at a mass 
meeting held in Lincoln Hall, a committee of one hundred and fifty 
persons was appointed to take general charge of the matter, which 
committee appointed a sul)committee to draft a suitable bill, which 
was approved at a large meeting held at Metzerott Hall, March 
3, 1870, in several very able speeches, especially one by IIou. A. G. 
Riddle. This bill passed the Senate May 27. 

In the meantime there was held a highly interesting and important 
election for Mayor of the city of Washington, the Mayor, Sayles J. 
Bovven, and M. G. Emery being the respective candidates. The result 
of the election was that Mr. Emery was elected by a vote of 10,096 
votes to 6,877 for Mayor Bowen. Mr. Emery was the last Mayor of 
Washington, his term expiring in June, 1871, when what is called the 
Territorial government went into operation. 

This Territorial form of government, as has been intimated, con- 
sisted of a Governor and other executive ofKcers, and a Legislature 
composed of a Legislative Assembly and a House of Delegates. It was 
established under an act of Congress passed February 21, 1871. The 
first officers appointed under this act were Henry D. Cooke, formerly 
of Sandusk}', Ohio, Governor; and a board of public works consist- 
ing of Alexander II, Shepherd, S. P. Brown, James A, Magruder, and 
A. B, MuUett. Governor Cooke received his commission Februarj' 
28, and assumed the duties of his office May 15, 1871, although the 
Territorial government did not get into operation until June 1 follow- 
ing. The Legislative Assembly of this Territorial government consisted 
of seventeen members, and the House of Delegates of forty-six mem- 
bers. The delegate in Congress was Hon. Norton P. Chii»man. The 
delegate in Congress and the forty-six members of the House of 
Delegates were elected by the people. Governor Cooke resigned his 
position September 13, 1873, and was succeeded by Alexander K. 
Shepherd, who served until June 20, 1874, when by reason of an 
investigation by Congress into the operations of the Territorial gov- 

158 HISTORY or ]\:}SH/NGTON. 

eniniont, made at tlic instance of certain citizens of tlie District, wlio 
could not then, but \yho can now, appreciate the great work that was 
being accomplislied in the waj^ of innH'oving the eit\', whicli had ever 
since it came into existence rested with more or less complacenc}' in 
a quagmire of lethargy and general dila})i(hiti()n, the Territorial form 
of government was al.)olished and a government b}' commissioners 
established in its place; though to the impetus given to the 
im[)rovement of tlie cit}- during the brief period of the Territorial 
government l)y the large brain, splendid executive ability, correct 
appreciation of the necessities of the District, and the indomitable 
energy of Alexander R. Shepherd, do the inhabitants of the city owe 
its present beauty and magnificence, and the world-wide reputation 
it now enjoj's as one of the finest capital cities of tlie world. This 
enviable reputation is now and must continue to l)e inseparable from 
the name of the city of Washington so long as it shall remain tlie 
Nation's Capital. But the improvements brought about through 
the impetus thus given to the work by Governor Shepherd will be 
more fully and apju-eciativel}' treated in another chapter b}' a more 
competent liaud. 

The following are the names of the officers of the Disti'ict o( 
Colunil)ia under its Territorial form of government: 

Delegate to Cove/ress — Norton P. Chipman, from April 21, 1871, to 
March 4, 1875. 

Secretaries — Norton P. Chi[)man, from March 2, 1871, to April 21, 
1871; Edwin L. Stanton, from May 19, 1871, to September 22, 1873; 
Ivichard Harrington, from September 22, 1873, to June 20, 1874. 

Board of Public Works — Henry D. Cooke, while Governor; Alex- 
ander Pv. Shepherd, from March 16, 1871, to September 13, 1873; S. V. 
Brown, from March 1(1, 1871, to September 13, 1873; A. B. Mullett, 
from March 16, 1871, to June 2, 1873; James A. Magruder, from 
March 16, 1871, to June 20, 1874; Adol}>h Cluss, from January 
2, 1873, to June 20, 1874; Ileury A. Willard, from May 22, 1873, to 
June 20, 1874; John B. Blake, from September 13, 1873, to June 
20, 1874. 

Board of Health — N. S. Lincoln, from March 15, 1871, to March 
22, 1871; T. S. A^erdi, from March 15, 1871, to July 1, 1878; H. A. 
Willard, March 15, 1871; John M. Langston, from March 15, 1871, to 
November 10, 1877; John Marbury, Jr., from March 15, 1871, to July 
1, 1878; D. Willard Bliss, from May 23, 1872, to July 1, 1878; Pvobert 

B. Warden, from November 10, 1877, to July 1, 1878; Christopher 

C. Cox, from April 3, 1871, to July 1, 1878. 




By the act of Congress of June 20, 1874, wliicli abolislied the 
Tcrritoi'iiil form of goveninient for tlie District, the executive numici- 
pul authority was vested temporarily in thiee commissioners, appointed 
by the President of the United States. These commissioners were 
lion. William Dennison, of Ohio; Ilenr}' T. Blow, of Missouri; and 
John II. Kctcham, of JSTew York. The first of these served from July 
1, 1874, to July 1, 1878; tlie second, from July 1, 1874, to December 
31, 1874; and the third, from July 3, 1874, to June 30, 1877. Seth 
L. Ledyard was commissioner from January 18, 1875, to June 30, 
1878; Thomas B. Bryan from June 30, 1877, to July 1, 1878; and 
Captain Richard L. Hoxie from July 2, 1874, to July 1, 1878. 

The temporary form of government gave way at this time to a 
permanent form of government provided for by an act of Congress 
passed June 11, 1878. This government is administered by a board 
of three commissioners, two of whom are appointed from civil life by 
the President of the United States and confirmed by tlie United States 
Senate, and the third is detailed from time to time by the President 
from the Engineer Corps of the army. These commissioners control, 
either directly or indirectly, the appointments to and removals from 
office in the District, exce[)t in case of teachers and janitors in the 
public schools. The commissioners under the pernument form of gov- 
ernment have been as follows: 

Josiah Dent, from July 1, 1878, to July 17, 1882; Seth L. Phelps, 
July 1, 1878, to November 29, 1879; Major William J. Twining, June 
29, 1878, to May 5, 1882; Thomas P. Morgan, I^ovember, 29, 1879, to 
March 8, 1883; Major Garrett J. Lydeckcr, May 11, 1882, to April 
1, 1886; Joseph R. West, July 14, 1882, to July 22, 1885; James 
B. Edmunds, March 3, 1883, to April 1, 188G; William B. Webb, July 

20, 1885, to May 21, 1889; S. E. Wheatley, March 8, 1880, to May 

21, 1889; Colonel William Ludlow, April 1, 1886, to January 26, 1888: 
Major Charles W. Raymond, January 26, 1888, to February 14, 1890; 
Henry M. Robert, February 14, 1890, to October 14, 1891; Lemon 
G. Iline, May 21, 1889, to October 1, 1890; John W. Douglass, May 
21, 1889, to the present time; John W. Ross,' October 1, 1890, to the 

'John W. Ross, commissioner of the District of Columbia, was l)orn in Lewistowu 
IlHnois, June 2:5, 1841. He attended private schools in Lewistown, and took a four 
years' course at the Illinois C(jlk'ge, and one year at the Harvard Law School. He was 
admitted to the l)ar, upon examination in open Supreme Court, at Springfield, in isod 
and was electeil as a Democrat to the Illinois Legislature in 1808, and again in 1870. He 
removed to Washington in 1873, and since that time has resided here, and has been 
engaged most of tlie time in the practice of the law. In ]88:;, he was appointed lec- 


present time; Captain William T. Rossell, October 14, 1891, to the 
present time. 

Dr. William Tindall has been secretary to the commissioners since 
Jnly 1, 1878. Dr. Smith Townsend was health officer from 1878 to 
1891. The attorneys of the District have been Edwin L. Stanton, 
William Birney, Alfred G. Riddle, and George C. Ilazleton. 

On a preceding" page has been given the date of the appointment 
of the lirst police force. By an act of Congress passed in 1842, an 
auxiliary guard, or watch, was established for the protection of public 
and private property against incendiaries, and the enforcement of police 
regulations in the city of Washington was also provided for. This 
auxiliary guard was made to consist of a captain, appointed by the 
Mayor, at a salary of |1,000 per year, and fifteen other persons, to 
be emplo^'ed by the captain, five of them at a salary of $35 per 
month and the other ten at a salary of $30 per month. They were 
to occupy such building as might be furnished by the United States 
or by the corporation of Washington, and which might be approved 
of by the President of the United States. They were to be subject to 
such rules and regulations as might be prescribed by a board to consist 
of the Mayor of Washington, the United States attorney of the District 
of Columljia, and the attorney for the corporation of Washington, 
with the approval of the President of the United States; and the 
sum of $7,000 was appropriated by the act for the purchase of the 
necessary implements to be used in the discharge of the duties of 
the police. Annual appropriations were made of the same amount 
for the next ten years. 

An act was passed March 3, 1851, authorizing an additional force 
of fifteen men, and the bill placed in the hands of the Mayor the 
authority to appoint them. The compensation of half tliis force was 
fixed at $500 per annum, and that of the other half at $400 per 
annum. The annual appropriation under this legislation was $15,000. 

August 4, 1854, an act was passed increasing the appropriation, and 
making the salaries of the private members of the force all $500 per year. 
On January 3, 1855, the salary was again increased to $600 per year. 

turer in the law school of the Georgetown University, and served in that capacity until 
18S,S. He was appointed trustee of the public schools of the District of Columbia in 
18S6, and served three years as president of the school Ijoard, and until ajipointed com- 
missioner of the District of Cohun])ia. He was appointed postmaster of the city of 
Washington ])y President Cleveland, and qualified February 1, 1888, and served in that 
capacity until October 1, 1890, when he was appointed ^^y President Harrison commis- 
sioner of the District of C()lund)ia. 


March 3, 1859, Congress passed an act ai)pro[)iMating- $12,530.52, 
"to repay to the corporation the compensation of twenty i»olicenien 
fVoni July 13, 1858, to June 30, 1859," and continuing the force of 
twenty policemen, and on June 20, 18G0, an api»ropriation for tlie 
year was made of $32,400. 

By the act of August G, 1861, the Metropolitan Police District 
of the District of Columbia was created, comprising the corporations 
of Washington and Georgetown, and the county outside of the cities' 
limits. By this act tlie President was authorized to appoint, by and 
with the advice and consent of the Senate, five commissioners, — three 
from Wasliington, one from Georgetown, and one from the county, — 
who, together with tlie Mayors of the two cities, were to constitute 
a board of police, selecting a president and treasurer from among 
tliemselves, the treasurer to give bonds in the sum of $10,000. The 
board was empowered to appoint a police force, to consist of a super- 
intendent, ten sergeants, and a patrol force not to exceed one hundred 
and fifty men for the regular service. 

The board was authorized to divide the District into precincts, not 
to exceed ten in number; to establish stations; to detail and change 
sergeants and patrolmen to such part of the District as they might 
deem advisable; and to appoint and swear in any number of additional 
patrolmen for special service. The superintendent of police was to 
receive a salary of $1,500 per year, each sergeant $000, and each 
patrolman $480. All rewards or fees, and all moneys arising from 
the sale of unclaimed goods, were to constitute the "Policemen's 
Fund," which was to be used to defray the necessarj- expenses of any 
member of the police force disabled in the discharge of his duty. 

The board of metropolitan police was declared to possess powers 
of general police supervision and inspection over all licensed venders, 
hackmen, cartmen, dealers in second-hand merchandise, intelligence 
offices, auctioneers of watches and jewelry, suspected private banking 
houses, and other doubtful establishments within the District of Col- 
umbia. It was also authorized to prepare and publish all the laws 
and ordinances in force in the District of Columbia having relation 
and being applicable to police and health matters, as the police code 
of the District, which was constituted the law upon such matters as 
it contained. 

June 25, 1864, an act was passed authorizing an increase of tifty 
per cent, in the compensation of the entire police force, to commence 
July 1, 1864, such increase to be borne by the cities of the District and 
the county in proportion to the number of patrolmen allowed to each, 


and a special tax not exceeding one-fourth of one per cent. An act 
was passed July 23, 186G, authorizing a large additional force and 
prescribing the titles of the members,— major, captains, lieutenants, 
sero'eants, and privates. Each member was to provide a uniform at his 
own expense. Private detectives were prohibited, except upon special 
authority, and these private detectives were required to give bonds in 
the sum of $10,000 for the faithful performance of their duties, and to 
be subject to the control of the board of police. 

By an act of March 2, 1867, no one could serve as policeman or 
watchman who had not served in the army or navy of the United 
States and received an honorable discharge. By an act of July 20, 
1868, an appropriation was made of $211,050 for salaries and other 
necessary expenses. The corporate authorities of the two cities and the 
county were authorized to levy a special tax of one-third of one per 
cent., to pay their proportionate expenses. The appropriations made 
by Congress for the support of the police force of the District from 
August 23, 1842, to the close of the year 1877, were $2,890,350 21. 

By an act of March 3, 1875, it was provided that the duties 
devolved upon and the authority conveyed to the board of metropol- 
itan police by law for police purposes should extend to and include 
all public squares and places. 

By an act of June 11, 1878, a permanent form of government for 
the District of Columbia was established, which provided that from 
and after July 1, 1878, the board of metropolitan police should be 
abolished, and all the powers and duties exercised by them should 
be transferred to the commissioners of the District, who were granted 
authority to employ such officers and agents and to adopt sucli pro- 
visions as might be necessary to carry into effect the powers and 
duties devolved upon them by the act; and they were empowered to 
lix the salaries to be paid to the officers and privates of the metro- 
politan police until otherwise provided by law; and all expenses 
previously incurred by the General Government for the metropolitan 
police were afterward to be paid by the Government of the District, 
according to the act of June 20, 1878. 

A question afterward arose as to whether the District commis- 
sioners, under the above legislation, could legally appoint upon the 
police force men who had not served in the army or navy of the 
United States. The matter was brought to a legal test b}" a suit for 
salary b}' a di'iver of an ambulance who had not so served. Tiie 
decision of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia was in 
favor of the driver, and the District commissioners were willing to 


accept the decision as settling tlie question, but the First Comptroller 
of the Treasury refused to pay the account, and appealed the case to 
the Supreme Court of the United States. The decision of this court, 
rendered February 1, 1892, was to the elfect that the law of June 
11, 1878, repealed the army and navy limitation, and gave the com- 
missioners full power to employ on the police force whomsoever they 
thought suitable to serve thereon. 

The police force of the District of Columbia at the present time 
is as follows: One major and superintendent, William G. Moore; 2 
captains, 39 lieutenants, 1 chief and property clerk, 3 clerks, 4 sur- 
geons, 32 sergeants, 415 privates, 20 station keepers, 10 laborers, 2 
messengers, 1 van driver, 1 ambulance driver, 2 assistant ambulance 
drivers, 13 drivers of patrol wagons, and 3 police matrons. The total 
annual cost of maintaining this force is about $500,000. During the 
year ending in 1891, although there was in certain instances a slight 
increase in the number of crimes committed, as in disorderly conduct 
and drunkenness, yet on the whole there was a general decrease in 
the amount of crime. In this connection it is deemed proper to state 
that the police force of the city of Washington is noted for its effi- 
ciency, as well as for its orderly and gentlenianly conduct. 

The ancient springs of the District of Columbia in the early day 
were as follows: The most important one was that on Smith's farm, 
at the head of Xorth Capitol Street, above Boundary Street. It had 
a great flow of water. From it there were two mains — one down 
Xorth Capitol Street to the Capitol grounds, which still supplies the 
grotto with its constant flow of water, and the other going down 
Pennsylvania Avenue nearly to Fifteenth Street. Then there was a 
spring in the City Hall lot, about fifty feet west of the building, which 
su}»[)lied pumps on Second Street as far as the Lafayette House, and 
another line of pipe went down Louisiana Avenue to Seventh Street. 
South of the City Hall, on C Street, between Four and a Half and 
Sixth streets, was another famous spring. It was on a lot owned by 
the corporation, and upon which the building first used for a police 
court stood afterward. 

There was also a spring under where the Masonic Temple stands 
[in 1884], which was tapped by pii)es running along F Street and 
down Ninth and Tenth streets. There was a spring in Franklin 
Square, and another just outside the square. The old Carroll Spring 
on Capitol Hill, located at the intersection of New Jersey and New 
York avenues, had a most copious flow, and the water was both cool 
and of excellent quality. The best spring in the northwestern part of 


the city was on J^ Street, near tlie Georgetown bridg-e, wbicli for many 
3'ears supplied the Metropolitan street-car stables, in Georgetown, by a 
pipe under the bridge. There is a splendid spring on Virginia Avenue, 
between Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh streets, near tlie gas works. 

The s})rings above described supplied tlie necessities of the inhabit- 
ants for several years, but at length they of course became inadequate. 
In 1831, Congress appropriated $12,000 to bring to the Capitol the 
waters from one of the springs of the Tiber, rising on the farm 
of J. A. Smith, about a mile away. The water was conducted in 
iron pipes from the reservoir at the liead of the stream, and supplied 
the marble fountain at the foot of the terrace on the west front 
of the Capitol, the surplus being discharged into basins, one on the 
east and one on the west front of the building. The one on the west 
contained seventy-eight thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven 
gallons, and that on the east one hundred and eleven thousand two 
hundred and forty-one gallons. In 1849, the yield of the fountain 
was thirty-two gallons per minute. 

It was about this time that the necessity for a larger su})ply of 
water began to attract serious attention. Robert Mills, engineer and 
architect of the city of Washington, wrote and had published a series 
of able articles on the entii'e subject of water supply, giving a succinct 
history of waterworks from the most ancient times down to the then 
present. The rare gift of nature to the city of Washington in the 
form of underground springs, which rose u}) wherever a well was 
dug, and which in several instances overflowed their margins, and 
which, ever since the settlement of the i)lace, had satislied the inhab- 
itants^ was a remarkable circumstance. The founders of the city, when 
they laid it out, especially noticed the abundant supply of i)ure water 
in the springs of the Tiber, and in others in various parts of the city 
and outside thereof. After the fire wliich destroyed the Treasury 
building, and the General Post Oftice and Patent Office buildings, Mr. 
Mills, as architect of the city, recommended that a supply of water 
should be conducted from the basins at the Capitol to those buildings, 
where, being under a head of sixty feet, the w^ater might be conducted 
to their top by means of hose. It was in this connection that Congress 
appropriated the money above mentioned to carry the suggestion into 
execution, and in order to benefit that portion of the city through 
which the pi})e passed, fire plugs were stationed at })roper distances, 
which were accessible in case of need. 

On March 30, 1830, Mr. Mills addressed a letter to lion. G. C. 
Verplanck, chairman of the Committee on Public Buildings, upon the 

^rUNICIPAL. 165 

subject of sni)plyii]g the city of Washington witli water, the sources 
being, first, the Tiber, and second, Rock Creek. With reference to 
the Tiber, it was the nearer to the Capitol, and its waters could be 
brought there at the least expense; but the supply was limited, and 
it was not certain that its yield would be permanent. The main head 
springs of this creek were three in number, and from them the water 
flowed in quantity as follows: From No. 1, 7 gallons per minute; from 
No. 2, 3 gallons per minute; and from No. 8, 4| gallons per minute. 
Total flow, W\ gallons per minute. The expense of bringing the 
water from these springs to the Capitol would be $43,710.50, exclusive 
of the purchase of the springs. The water of Rock Creek was looked 
upon by Mr. Mills very favorably as a source of supply, not only for 
the then present, but for the future, and the high grounds were suit- 
able for the formation of a reservoir from which to supply the entire 
city; and the conduit pipes, before reaching the Capitol, would pass 
through the city, instead of passing through vacant territory, as in 
case of drawing water from the head springs of the Tiber. The 
entire cost of conducting the water from Rock Creek, he thought, 
w^ould not exceed $50,000. 

On February 14, 1853, Brigadier-General Joseph G. Totten made 
a report to the Secretary of War on the subject of supplying water 
to the cities of Washington and Georgetown, embodying in his report 
that to himself of Montgomery C. Meigs, a synopsis of which is here 
introduced. The aqueduct from Rock Creek, complete, to the Capitol 
and Navy Yard, and public buildings, would cost $1,258,863. The 
supply of water in winter and spring would be 26,732,300 gallons, and 
would run down in summer to 9,860,000 gallons. The Little Falls 
work, complete, would cost $1,597,415, and the supply would be 
steadily 12,000,000 gallons. The Great Falls project would cost $1,- 
921,244, and the constant daily supply would be 36,000,000 gallons. 
This latter project had numerous and great advantages over every 
other. The work of constructing the Washington aqueduct, which 
was to supply the citizens of Washington and Georgetown with water, 
was assigned to the Engineering Department, and General Totten, with 
the approval of the Secretary of War, placed Captain Montgomery 
C. Meigs in charge. 

But this work, so much needed by the two cities of Washington 
and Georgetown, received a backset in April, 1853, by the refusal of 
the Legislature of Maryland to permit the Washington aqueduct 
to convey the water from the Great Falls to these cities. This was a 
great surprise and a great disappointment. The construction of this 


aqueduct was looked upon as a more important measure tluui tlie 
extension of the Capitol, wliich was then going on. There would be 
expended nearl}' a million dollars between the District of Columbia and 
the Great Falls, and nearly another million within the limits of the 
District itself. It would make the city a far more desirable place of 
residence, increasing the comfort and health of all the citizens, and 
cheapening insurance, besides increasing the safety of all the buildings, 
public and private, from tires. Better counsel, however, soon prevailed 
in the legislature, and on May 3, 1853, an act was passed consen-ting to 
the draft of water from the Potomac and its conveyance to the District 
of Columbia. 

Preparations, therefore, went on for the beginning of work on 
the proposed aqueduct. ISTovember 8, 1853, was a memorable day in 
the history of Washington and Georgetown; for on that day work 
was at length commenced upon the great aqueduct that was to bring 
in to them the waters of the Potomac. The President of the United 
States and a portion of his cabinet, with the municipal authorities of 
Washington, went by steamboat and pack horses from Georgetown 
up the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal to Crommelin, near the Great 
Falls of the Potomac, in the vicinity of which the aqueduct com- 
menced. The spot having Ijeen designated h}- a tiag erected u[ton a 
pole, the President approached it, and surrounded by a large concourse 
of people, the exercises were opened with a prayer from liev. Dr. Pyne, 
of St. John's Episcopal Church, Washington, after which Captain M. 
C. Meigs made a short address. President Pierce then broke ground 
with the spade presented to him for that purpose. Hon. Jefferson 
Davis followed the example of the President; Senator Douglas, of 
Illinois, did the same, and then John W. Maury, Mayor of Washing- 
ton, W. W. Seaton, the late Mayor, and others, among them being 
Thomas Kitchie, Mr. Walter, and Captain William Easby, followed 
the same example. 

Passing over the Pock Creek Jiqueduct, as it would have been had 
it been constructed, and confining ourselves to the I'otomac aqueduct, 
we have from Captain Meigs's report the following syno})sis: That 
while from a casual survey of the route necessary to l)e followed it 
would appear almost impossible to construct an aqueduct along the 
Potomac liiver, on account of the jagged and vertical precipices, etc., 
that would have to be overcome; yet upon a careful and mathematical 
survey, there were reall}' but few difficulties that an engineer would 
not delight in overcoming; because the rocky precipices and difficult 
jiassages were really below the level which would naturally be selected 

MUN/C/PAL. 167 

for the conduit. There were indeed necessary several tunnels, of an 
average length of 220 feet, and but three bridges, only one of these 
being large enough to make its erection an object of ambition to an 
engineer. The distance in a right line from the beginning of the 
conduit to the north end of the Georgetown aqueduct was 11^ 
miles, and the length of the conduit 14 miles to the same point. The 
elevation of the water in the Potomac River opposite the fifteenth 
milestone on the canal, which is somewliat less than three-fourths of 
a mile above Oollins's Great Falls House, is at low water 147 feet 
above high tide at Washington; and there was an average depth of 
water in the river of 5 feet. As the water was not high enough to 
allow the conduit to be constructed above the canal, it was necessary 
to convey the water under the canal in large iron pipes to the gate 
house on the opposite side, where regulating gates, worked by screws, 
controlled the quantity of water admitted. From this gate house the 
water was to be conducted in a circular brick conduit, 7 feet in 
diameter, afterward changed to 9 feet in diameter, because while the 
expense of constructing the conduit would be increased by about 
one-sixth, yet the capacity of the conduit would be doubled. With 
a slope of .792 feet to the mile, the water running at a depth of 6 
feet, the 7-foot conduit would discharge 36,000,000 gallons per day, 
while the 9-foot conduit would discharge 67,596,000 gallons per day. 

After leaving the river, there are two tunnels near the pipe cham- 
ber, one 215 feet long, tlie other 272 feet long. Then the line is 
principally in rock, but soon crossing a ravine and small brook by an 
arch of 24-foot s[)an. It then passes through two tunnels, one 115 
feet, the other 61 feet in length. At 5f miles from the dam, it crosses 
Mountain Spring Brook by an arch of 50-foot span; and thence pro- 
ceeds in easy cuttings, until at the end of 7 miles it comes to the 
valley of the Cabin John Branch, the only serious obstacle in the 
way. Over this branch it was proposed to construct an aqueduct 
of tlie following descri[)tion : Length, 482 feet; greatest height, 101 
feet; width, 20 feet; six semi-circular ai'ches, each of 60-foot span, 
resting upon piers 7 feet thick by 20 feet long at the top and varying 
in height, the highest being 32i feet. Its estimated cost was $72,400. 
This plan was, however, changed, as will be seen later on. I^ear the 
end of the tenth mile the line reaches the valley of Little Falls 
Branch, a dam across which — 41 feet in height and 200 feet long — 
floods a little more than 50 acres of land, which makes a fine receiv- 
ing reservoir of an irregular shape, 140 feet above high tide, and 
having a capacity of 163,000,000 gallons. 


The objects proposed to be accomplished in the construction of 
this receiving reservoir were to furnish storage capacity and to secure 
a large area in which the water might have opportunity to deposit 
its impurities. The first object was accomplished, but the second 
object, after an experience of four years, from 1860 to 1864, was 
found to be impracticable, for the reason that four or five streams 
were constantly discharging into tlie basin, each draining a hilly 
country, and consequently swollen and muddied by every rain; aud 
besides, the hillsides discharged their surface water into the reservoir. 
The water for the most part was shallow, the area compared with the 
shore line was small, and the banks were unprotected from the wash 
of the waves. 

Just before reaching this receiving reservoir the conduit passes 
through a tunnel of more than one thousand two hundred feet in 
length, but after leaving it there is no further tunneling. Below this 
reservoir there is a distributing reservoir, near Drover's Rest, above 
Georgetown. This distributing reservoir is on the thirteenth mile from 
the upper end of the aqueduct. 

The first appropriation made for the prosecution of this work, by 
Congress, was on September 30, 1850, the amount being $500. The 
next appropriation was $5,000, made April 30, 1852. This ap[>ropri- 
ation was made to enable the President of the United States to have 
the survey of the route made. The next appropriation was made in 
1853, of $100,000, for the purpose of beginning the work. The date 
of breaking ground has already been given, as has also the date of 
Maryland's consent to the construction of the aqueduct. Virginia, on 
March 3, 1854, gave her consent to the purchase of a tract of land 
for the Virginia abutment of the dam at Great Falls. A tract of 
land for this purpose, also a tract of several acres containing the 
quarries necessary for the construction of tlie dam, were purchased 
of Virginia, and also the lands along the line of the aqueduct in 
Maryland from the Great Falls to the District of Columbia. 

Contracts were entered into for the several portions of the aque- 
duct with Degges A: Smith, of Washington, District of Columbia, and 
of Baltimore, Maryland, respectively, January 23, 1854, for the delivery of 
from twenty-five millions to forty millions of brick along the line of the 
canal, at $8.75 per thousand; May 28, 1854, with Felix Duftin, of Ohio, 
for the graduation and culverts, including the 1-foot culverts; May 
19, 1855, with N. 11. Decker, of Albany, iSTew York, for graduation 
and culverts; June 16, 1855, with Patrick Crowley, for tunnels; and 
November 24, 1855, with Hugh L. Gallaher, of Virginia, to take up 


and complete the work contracted to be done l)y Felix Dnffin, Mr. 
Duffin liavino^ tailed to carrv out his contract. 

During the fall of 1853 and the year 1854, the work was prose- 
cuted with diligence. Connection with the Potomac River under the 
canal was made, and tunnels Nos. 1, 2, and 3 were commenced, 
about four hundred and fifty feet being pierced, and a small portion 
of the brick conduit built, ^o appropriation having been made in 
1854, work was suspended until after March 4, 1855, when Congress 
made an appropriation of $250,000. With this sum most of the lands 
in Maryland were purchased, 827 feet of tunnels pierced, 1,800 feet 
of conduit built, 13 culverts nearly completed, together with the 
embankments over them, and most of the other tunnels in Maryland 
begun. The crossing under the canal at the Great Falls was com- 
pleted, and the canal itself restored to its full dimensions. 

In 1856, the work w^as again suspended for want of an appropri- 
ation. March 3, 1857, an appropriation of ^1,000,000 was made, most 
of the lands in the District of Columbia purchased, contracts made 
for the great conduit, the receiving reservoir made, the arch stones at 
Cabin John Bridge, 12 inch pipes, and bridges Xos. 1 and 2 nearly 
completed, ISTos. 3 and 5 commenced, 6,104 feet of conduit built, 2,034| 
feet of tunnels pierced, and the Potomac dam commenced. During 
the winter of 1857-58 a large quantity of stone was quarried and 
deposited along the line of the aqueduct, and preparations made for 
the work of 1858. June 12, 1858, an appropriation w^as made of 
S800,000, the remainder of the lands in the District of Columbia pur- 
chased, all the culverts completed, the conduit nearly finished, bridges 
Xos. 3 and 5 completed, bridge No. 4 (Cabin John) commenced, and 
the granite arch cut, and part of the rubble arch was built. In the 
spring of 1859, the Rock, Creek Bridge was well advanced, the tunnels, 
except No. 1, tinished, waste weirs Nos. 1 and 3 completed and No. 2 
sufficiently so for use, the 12-inch main pipe laid, and the 30-inch 
pipe commenced. September 27, 1858, the receiving reservoir being 
finished, the sluice gate was closed. December 8, the water rose to 
the bottom of the conduit, and on January 3, 1859, it was introduced 
into the pipes supplying the cities. 

In the spring of 1859, the work was again suspended for want of 
funds. In June, 1800, an appro^jriation was made of $500,000, "to be 
expended according to the plans and estimates of Captain Meigs, and 
under his superintendence." This provision caused some official com- 
ment. President Buchanan, in a message, calling attention to the fact 
that if strictly construed it, in efiect, took away from the President 


tlio pinvcr of a[>poiiiti ng officers of the army, and was therefore a 
usurpation of executive authority, hence unconstitutional. lie, how- 
ever, could not think it possible that Congress intended to encroach 
up(Mi his powers, and so construed the law as he supposed Congress 
intended to enact it. 

Upon July 17, 1860, Captain W. II. Benham was appointed chief 
engineer, and in December following he was succeeded by Lieutenant 
Morton. February 22, 1861, General Al. C. Meigs again resumed 
cluirge of the a(|ueduct. Work on the aqueduct was resumed in 
the fall of 1860, under Captain Benham, who expended while in charge 
$98,345.11; Lieutenant Morton expended while in charge $55,441,40; 
and General Meigs in 1861 spent $81,802.61. 

Up to June 17, 1862, the total appropriations had been $2,900,000, 
and the total expenditures $2,675,832.53. February 22, 1864, S. Sey- 
mour, engineer of the aqueduct, reported that an am})le supply of 
water for the cities of Washington and Georgetown could be obtained 
from the Potomac by the erection of a tight dam from the Maryland 
side of the Potomac to Conn's Island, which would give a height of 
six feet of water in the aqueduct, and yield a daily supply of 65,000,- 
000 gallons, which was more by one-third than was used in the city 
of jSTew York in 1861, when its popuhition was over 800,000. The 
engineer, at the same time, estimated that the amount necessary to 
complete the work was $546,433.62, making the entire cost of the 
aqueduct $3,446,433.62, or, in round numbers, $3,500,000. And upon 
making a comparison with twenty other large cities in this country, 
this would be less than half the average cost of their waterworks, and 
the capacity of tlie Washington aqueduct would be more than double 
the average capacity of theirs. 

Washington and Georgetown were no exception to the rule that 
cities waste a vast amount of water distributed to their inhabitants by 
means of waterworks. In 1870, this subject began to attract atten- 
tion here. General N. Michler saying that the two cities consumed 
about 12,000,000 gallons i)er day. A large portion of this amount was 
consumed in the Government departments, especially in the Navy Yard 
and at the Treasury. On Capitol Hill and other high points, the 
supply was not equal to the demand, because of the reckless and 
wasteful use of the water in the lower portions of the city. To rem- 
edy tliis waste, the General recommended the adoption of the meter 

According to Colonel Casey, who had charge of the aqueduct in 
1879, there had been ex[)ended in the construction and maintenance 


of the waterworks, prior to Juno 30, 1879, by tlie United States, 
$3,784,546.72, by the corporation of Washington, $1,313,351.17, and 
by Georgetown, about $40,000, though the precise amount spent ])y 
Georgetown could not be ascertained, because her accounts had been 
so poorly kept. The aggregate expenditure had been $5,137,897.89. 
The total receipts liad been $1,104,950.50. 

The first mention of water rents, in legislation referring to this 
system, was in the third section of an act of Congress entitled, "An 
Act to Provide for the Care and Preservation of the Works Con- 
structed by the United States for Bringing the Potomac Water into 
the Cities of Washington and Georgetown, for the Supply of said 
Water for all Governmental Purposes, and for the Use and BeneBt of 
the Inliabitants of said Cities." This act was passed March 3, 1859. 
B}' this act the corporations of the two cities were authorized to 
establish a scale of annual rates for the supply of water, apportioned 
to the different classes of buildings, and to the uses ibr dwellings, 
manufactories, etc., and their exposure to fire; and to alter or amend 
their ordinances relating to the supply of water, so as to increase 
or reduce the rates, and generally to enact such laws as might be 
necessary to secure a supply of pure and wholesome water to the 
inhabitants of the two cities. The corporate authorities of the two 
cities were also, bj' this act, autliorized to borrow money not to exceed 
$150,000 for Washington and $50,000 for Georgetown, redeemable 
within ten 3'ears, out of water rents. 

The next legislation of Congress on tlie subject of water rents 
was on March 3, 1863, wlien an act was passed, authorizing the cor- 
poration of Washington to levy and collect a water tax on all real 
property within the corporate limits of the city, "which binds on or 
touches on any avenue, street, or alley, in which a main water pipe 
has been laid, or* hereafter may be laid, by the United States, or bj- 
the corporation of Washington." This same act also provided for the 
"erection, maintenance, and efficiency of fire plugs throughout the 
city," and authorized the corporation of Washington to "levy and col- 
lect a special annual tax on all buildings witliin five hundred feet of 
any water pipe, into which, or the iiremises connected therewith, the 
water has not been introduced, and the owner or occupiers of wliich 
do not pay any annual water rate, etc., and which tax shall not be 
more than $5, nor less than $1."" The same act also provided that the 
water tax collected under it should be constituted a fund, to be used 
exclusively to defray the cost of distributing the water, etc. 

Georgetown, in carrying out the i)rovisions of this act, assessed 


the property' owners the full cost of laying the water pipes in that 
city, and thus relieved themselves of the necessity of establishing a 
water rent. 

An ordinance of the city of Washington, passed June 2, 1859, 
provided for the appointment of a water registrar, and imposed upon 
him the dut}- of assessing water rates, according to the tariff estab- 
lished by the ordinances of the city, and of making out and presenting 
to the Mayor annuall}' a full report of all his proceedings in connec- 
tion with the duties of his office. It was also made the dutj' of the 
Mayor to appoint four suitable citizens of Washington, who, together 
with the Mayor, should constitute the water board of the city. 

By a law passed July 14, 1870, the engineer of the Washington 
aqueduct was required to lay from the distributing reservoir to 
Capitol Hill an iron pipe, or main, tliirty-six inches in diameter, the 
entire cost of which was to be borne proportionately by the corpora- 
tions of Washington and Georgetown, the water rates to be increased 
to such an amount as might be necessar3^ 

B}' 1879 the question of an increased water suppl}^ became one of 
great importance. The daily supply for the past six years had been 
as follows: In 1874, 17,554,848 gallons; in 1875, 21,000,000 gallons; in 
1876, 24,177,797 gallons; in 1877, 23,252,932 gallons; in 1878, 24,885,945 
gallons; in 1879, 25,947,642 gallons. When the proper deduction was 
made by the United States, viz., 2,626,188 gallons, there were left 
23,321,454 gallons, whicli amount was consumed by the inhabitants 
of the two cities. This was an average of 155 J galh^ns per head for 
each person, while in twenty other cities of the United States the 
average number of gallons used by each iidiabitant ranged from 25 in 
Providence, Rhode Island, to 119 in Chicago, the average in these 
twenty large cities being 58J gallons per head, a little more than 
one-third as much as was used in Washington and Georgetown. 

An increased supply of water was therefore an apparent necessity, 
and the commissioners of the District of Columbia recommended 
tlie extension of the conduit from the distributing reservoir to a 
point north of the city and east of Seventh Street, and the building 
there of a large reservoir, to be connected by a four-foot main along 
New Jersey Avenue with the principal mains then maintained from 
the vicinity of L and G streets. The total cost of the extension of 
the conduit was estimated at $554,731.41; the cost of the four-foot 
main was estimated at $91,298; and the cost of completing the dam 
at Great Falls was estimated at $200,000, making the total cost of 
these three items |846, 029.41. The commissioners also recommended 


the building of an additional reservoir, which would cost $462,512.50, 
making a total expenditure needed of $1,308,541.91. General Meigs 
was opposed to the reservoir nortli of the city, because in his opinion 
it would be a constant menace to the lives and jM-opert}- of the. 

One of the most remarkable structures in the world is "Cabin 
John Bridge," erected by General Meigs over Cabin John Run, at a 
distance of seven miles from Washington on the line of tlie aque- 
duct, for the purpose of carrying the aqueduct over the run. It is a 
stone structure, 584 feet in extreme length, and 101 feet high, above 
the stream. The arch proper is 200 feet wide at the base, and 50 
feet higli, and is believed to be the largest stone arch in the world. 
The thickness of the bridge above the arch is 14^ feet, and it is 20 
feet wide. 

Ever since the Potomac River water has been introduced into the 
District, there has been great interest taken by scientific men in the 
question as to the reasons for the impurities that at regular periods 
are noticeable therein, as well as by those who are compelled to use 
ihe water thus aifected. In addition to its roiled and muddy appear- 
ance, there has been detected a tishy odor which is anything but 
l)leasant. The chemist of the Engineer Department, in 1886, in refer- 
ring to this odor, which is noticeable only occasionally, stated that all 
scientific men believed it to be due to the formation of microscopic 
algce, such as coiiferoce, oscillatoria, and protoeocci; but there was no 
evidence, he said, to warrant the suspicion that the water would 
produce deleterious eflects upon the health. lie also explained the 
periodicity of the phenomenon of the muddy water by sajing it was 
more noticeable during that portion of the year when most moisture 
falls, and said that the same thing was remarkable more or less in all 
parts of the world. 

During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1890, a 48-inch main was 
constructed. It was begun in August, 1889, and so far completed by 
March 20, 1890, that the water was turned on, and the protracted 
famine of water at the Capitol building then came to an end. The 
meter system was introduced in 1888, and bj' June 30, 1890, there were 
90 of them in operation, varying in size from | of an inch to 6 inches 
in diameter. The prevailing sizes, however, were 1, IJ, and 2 inches, 
of which sizes there were 70 in all. The 48-inch main, in the relief it 
gave to the city, was a very gratifying improvement for the area sup- 
plied by the gravity system. The average quantity of water drawn daily 
from the gravity supply and delivered into the standpipe w^as in 1891 


376,130 gallons, and the entire av^erage daily anionnt of water used in 
the two cities of Georgetown and Washington at the present time is 
38,000,000 gallons. In the latter part of 1891, there were 1,157 fire 
hydrants in service, and 287 public hydrants, the latter being largel}^ 
used by the poorer people, who cannot afford to have the Potomac 
water introduced into their houses. There were, also, at that time 
(December 1, 1891), 264 public pumps in the District, the cool water 
supplied by which in the summer time is very acceptable to such as 
cannot afford the use of ice. The total number of houses in George- 
town and Washington which are supplied with Potomac water was 
at this same time 32,074, and the number of miscellaneous water 
takers was 5,174. 

One of the first fires that occurred in the citj' of Washington was 
that which destroyed the building occupied by the War Department, 
and the one adjoining, November 8, 1800. The building in which the 
department was situated was owned by Joseph Hodgson, and upon 
the repeated petition of his widow, his legal representatives received 
$6,000 for the loss thus occasioned, in accordance with an act passed 
by Congress, May 7, 1822. Another extensive fire occurred January 
20, 1801, in the Treasury Department, which was extinguished l)y 
the citizens with water buckets; but not until after several valuable 
books had been destroyed The necessity thus becoming apparent for 
organized protection against the ravages of fire led to the enactment 
of a law by the city authorities, January 10, 1803, which provided 
that every proprietor of a dwelling or business house should, prior 
to March 1 ensuing, provide at liis own expense as many fire buckets 
of leather, containing two and a half gallons, as there were stories to 
his house, under a penalty of SI for eacli bucket he did not provide 
as required by law; and all were required to keep these buckets in 
a conspicuous place, and send them to fires that might break out. 

On July 24, 1804, the citj' was divided into fire wards, and fire 
companies provided for. All that part of the city west of Sixteenth 
Street constituted the first ward; that part bounded by Sixteenth 
Street on the west, b}' G Street on the south, and by Third Street on 
the east, constituted the second ward; that portion south of G Street 
constituted the third ward, and the rest of the city the fourth w^ard. 
Under this act, one individual in each ward was a[)[)ointed to call 
the citizens together for the purpose of organizing themselves into fire 
companies, one in each ward. Each company was to elect annually 
one of its members as a member of a board of fire directors, which 
board should have o-eneral charo;e of the extino-uishino: of fires. Meet- 

MUN/C/P.1 L. 175 

iiigs were held then to organize coniptinies, in accordance with the 
law. Union Fire Company was organized September 8, 1804. On 
December 31, 1814, this company had the engines of the Treasury 
Department placed in its charge. The a})paratiis of the companies 
then consisted of ordinary hand engines. The Union Fire Company 
was in existence until 18G4, when, on account of many of its members 
having enlisted in the army of the Union, its organization ceased. 

On December 18, 1837, a meeting was held at the Fraidvlin Fire 
Company's Hall, to organize a regular fire department, and on January 
4, 1838, the following olKcers were elected: Rev. French S. Evans, 
president; E. Ilanley, vice-president; Charles Calvert, secretary'; S. 
Stott, treasurer; and S. Drury, captain of engineers. Rev. Evans 
resigned his position February 13, and was succeeded by Mr. Ilanley. 
The Perseverance Fire Company was also in existence at this time, 
and the Xorthern Liberties Fire Company was organized in 1840. The 
Columbia Fire Company was organized soon afterward. 

In 1856, there were in existence the Union Fire Company, the 
Franklin Fire Company, the Perseverance Fire Company, the iSTorth- 
ern Liberties Fire Company, the Columbia Fire Company, the Ana- 
costia Fire Company, the American Hook and Ladder Company, and 
the Metropolitan Hook and Ladder Company. 

September 15, 1859, the steam tire engine of tlie American Fire 
Company, of Philadelphia, was publicly exhibited near the corner 
of Pennsylvania Avenue and Tenth Street. A stream was thrown 110 
feet in perpendicular height through a nozzle 1^ inches in diameter, 
and a horizontal stream was tiirown 198 feet. The stream thrown was 
equal in extinguishing power to at least three of those thrown by the 
most efticient hand engines in the city. The cost of the steam engine 
was $3,200. 

January 21, 1800, the steam fire engine " Marylantl,"' built by 
Poole k Hunt, of Baltimore, was tried in front of the Lank of Wash- 
ington, and its efficiency conclusively established. The engine was 
attached to a street hydrant and the boiler filled directly from the 
street main. Steam was raised from this water and the engine put 
in operation in nine minutes from the lighting of the torch. The 
greatest distance played from the cistern was 241 feet horizontally, 
through a nozzle l-^- inches in diameter. The weight of the engine 
was 0,000 pounds. 

Under an act passed October 0, 1802, the tire department was 
reorganized, and named the Washington Fire Department. It was 
made to consist of five delegates from each of the companies then in 



existence, the Columbia, the [Jnion, the Franklin, the Anacostia, and 
the Perseverance Engine companies, and the Western Hose Company, 
the Metropolitan Hook and Ladder Company, and the American 
Hook and Ladder Company, and from such other companies as should 
afterward be organized. The department as thus organized was given 
power to make all by-laws and regulations needful for their own 
government, and to make nominations for a chief engineer on the 
last Monday in May in each year. An act for the purchase of one 
steam tire engine was introduced at the same time, which was after- 
ward changed so as to provide for the purchase of three steam fire 
engines. On Monday, November 17, 1862, nominations were made for 
a chief engineer, and J. J. Peabody was chosen. Early in 1865, the 
first steam fire engine was received in the city, and it was tested 
March 31, that year. This engine threw a large stream of water from 
the corner^ of Eighth and E streets to the center of Seventh Street. 
Steamer No. 2 was also received early in the same year. This was a 
second-class engine with a double-acting plunger pump, and ten feet 
long, exclusive of the pole. At fair working speed it was capable of 
throwing four hundred gallons of water per minute, and of throwing 
the stream over two hundred feet. Engine No. 3 was tried March 14, 
and threw a stream through a one-inch nozzle two hundred and twenty 
feet. By April 1, 1865, the steam fire department was completed. 
These three steamers were located as follows: No. 1, at the ITnion 
Engine House, in the first ward; No. 2, at tiie Franklin Engine 
House, on D Street, between Twelfth and Thirteenth streets; and No. 3, 
on Capitol Hill. The Metropolitan Truck House was on Massachusetts 
Avenue, between Fourth and Fifth streets. Besides these, the Govern- 
ment steamers acted with the city fire department. The names of the 
Government steamers were the "General Meigs," the "Hibernia," and 
the "Rucker." J. II. Sessford was then chief engineer of tlie fire 
department. All the steamers in the city at that time were manufac- 
tured by the Amoskeag Company, of New Hampshire. On April 
4, they were tested at the corner of Indiana Avenue and Four and a 
Half Street, to the satisfaction of all concerned. 

In 1864, the Government disbanded its fire department, and in 
1867 the city added two more steam engines to its number. In 1874, 
it was recommended to the city government that two additional engines 
be introduced, so as to bring the department up to the efiiciency it 
had eight or ten years before, before the fire brigade of the Gov- 
ernment was dispensed with. In 1891, on account of the steadily 
increasing extent of territory to be protected and of the increase in 


the number and size of tlie l)uil(lings witliiii the territory thus increas- 
ing in extent, a movement was started to increase the capacity of the 
department by the organization of a new company in tlie northern 
section of the city. According to the report of Joseph Parris, chief 
engineer of the department, for June 30, 1891, there were then 8 
engine houses and 2 truck liouses in use. The engines in active use 
were as follows: 3 second size engines, 700 gallons per minute; 
1 third size, 650 gallons per minute; 1 third size, 500 gallons per 
minute; and 3 fourth size, 450 gallons. Besides these, there were two 
engines in reserve. The force consisted of 1 chief engineer, 2 assist- 
ant engineers, 1 fire marshal, 1 clerk, 8 engine companies of 10 men 
each, 2 truck companies of 12 men each, 1 truck company of 11 
men, 1 chemical company of 3 men, and 6 watchmen, — 129 in all. 
The department had 53 horses. From this statement it is clear that 
the department is far too small for the extent of territory — 72 square 
miles, containing nearly 50,000 houses, and a population of 235,000 — 
which it is required to protect. To meet possible exigencies, which 
it is only the part of a wise precaution to provide for, the number of 
engines should now be fifteen, with other apparatus in proportion. 

In 1877, an improved fire alarm telegraph was introduced, and the 
expense incurred in its erection was much more than saved by its celer- 
ity and certainty in operation, enabling the firemen, as it did, to get 
almost immediate information of the breaking out of tires. In 1879, 
there were 80 automatic signal boxes, and in addition several of the 
police stations were used as fire alarm stations. During the year end- 
ing June 30, 1885, 46 new tire alarm signal boxes were added, of the 
latest improved Gamewell system. In the latter part of 1891, the tire 
alarm telegraph consisted of 7 signal and 4 alarm circuits, all metallic. 
There were 150 alarm bo.xes on the 7 signal circuits, — precisely twice 
as many as when the system was tirst introduced in 1877, but the 
number of circuits remained the same. On the 4 alarm circuits are 
the gongs and bells upon which are sounded the alarms for tires and 
the hours of the day. In all there were then 19 gongs and 4 bells. 
In addition to these, the department was using 233 sets of exchange 

The city post office of Washington was established in 1795, with 
Thomas Johnson as postmaster, who was appointed September 1, that 
year. Prior to that time, the nearest post office was in Georgetown, 
mails being received there three times each week. Mr. Johnson kept 
the post office in his own residence on Pennsylvania Avenue, just west 
of Seventeenth Street. He served as postmaster until January 1, 1796, 


when Ohristoplier rvicliniond was appointed. Mr. Richmond served 
nntil the 1st of the following October, when Lund Washington was 
a})pointed, and served until April 1, 1799. During Mr. Washington's 
time the post ofiice was on Xew Jersey Avenue. Thomas Munroe was 
appointed postmaster April 1, 1799, and served continuously until April 
29, 1829. Early in Mr. Munroe's term, the post office was removed to 
the west executive building, west of the White House. Subsequentl}^, 
the room thus occupied b}' the post office being needed, a room was 
rented still further to the westward on Pennsylvania Avenue, to which 
the post office was removed. "Indeed, the officials generally of that 
day, like their successors, could not be convinced that the center of 
the city was to be found anywhere but in one end of it; and it was 
apprehended by many that our post office would at last be located in 
Georgetown, 1)y way of promoting the public good of the citizens of 
Washington." Other removals occurred, and for a time the office was 
in a building on the north side of F Street, between Fourteenth and 
Fifteenth streets, and still later on a square further to the east. 

At length Congress took up the question, and purchased Blod- 
gett's or the Great Hotel for the use of the Post Office Department, on 
E Street, between Eiglith and ^inth streets, for .115,000. This hotel 
was situated on the southwest portion of the present site of the 
Post Office Department. To tLis building the city post office was 
removed in 1812. Still later, a l)uilding was erected at the east end of 
the hotel building for the accommodation of the city post office, and 
l)oth the General Post Office and the city post office remained here 
until the tire of 1835 destroyed the buildings. 

April 29, 1829, Dr. William Jones was appointed to succeed Mr. 
Munroe. He served until March 23, 1839. It was during his incum- 
bency that the lire mentioned above occurred. After this disaster, the 
post office was opened in the lower part of Mr. Seaver"s brick house 
on Seventli Street, near the office of the National Intelligencer. It w\as 
afterward moved to the Masonic Ilall building, where it remained 
until 1839, in which year Dr. Jones was succeeded by James S. Gun- 
nell, who proposed to remove it to the westward. This proposition 
brought out several remonstrances from the people in the eastern por- 
tion of the city, who thought that the new postmaster had not learned 
that the tax on postage was quite heav}' enough, without their being 
compelled to submit to additional burdens in having to bring into 
requisition the pennj- post. On the other hand, it was said that the 
proposed removal would greath' accommodate the President and the 
lieads of the tlepartments; but the Intelligencer said the location of 

MrNlCfPAL. 179 

the post office was preferublc to the [)roposc(l one by iibont tbe ratio 
of three huiulred to thirty-live. Notwithstanding tlie [H'otests of tlie 
citizens of the eastern part of the city, the post (office was removed to 
the basement of Carusi's saloon, standing on Eleventh Street below 
Pennsylvania Avenue, ;ind it was afterward removed to the corner of 
Louisiana Avenue and Four and a Half Street, opposite the City 
Hall. From this location it moved to Seventh Street, between E and 
F streets, and thence to F Street, opposite the Patent Office. In 
il^ovember, 1879, it was removed to tbe Seaton building, on Louisiana 
Avenue, where it remained until 1892, when it was finally removed 
to the new and elegant building erected especially for its use on Penn- 
sylvania Avenue, between Eleventh and Twelftb streets. 

The postmasters since Mr. Gunnell have been as follows: Charles 
K. Gardner, March 31, 1845, to June 28, 1849; William A. Bradley, 
June 28, 1849, to May 27, 1853; James G. Berrett, Dr. William Jones, 
Lewis Clephane', Sayles J. Bowen, Colonel C. M. Alexander, Judge 
James M. Edmunds, May, 1869, till his death in 1880; Colonel Daniel 
B. Ainger, 1880 to 1882; Thomas L. Tulloch, November 25. 1882, to 
June 23, 1883, when he died; Colonel D. S. Parlcer, one week, when 
he declined to serve; F. B. Conger, June 29, 1883, to January 30, 1888; 
John W. Ross, January 31, 1888, to September 30, 1890; and finally 
Henry Sherwood, appointed September 12, 1890. 

At the main office, and at the sixteen branch offices, there were 
sold $500,000 wortli of stamps in 1891; but as about seventy-five per 
ceut. of the mail matter sent out from this office goes free, it is safe 
to say that, were none of it sent free, the income of the office would 
be $2,000,000. The regular delivery division, in 1891, handled 45,900,- 
000 letters, cards, etc., while the special delivery division handled 
63,783 letters. This feature of the mail service was established in 
1885, and for the year ending June 30, 1886, the special delivery 
letters numbered only 25,154. The number of registrj- pieces handled 
by the main office and its branches for the year 1891 was 2,394,806, 
the value of which was nearly $530,000,000. The weight of this 
matter was about 1,568 tons for the year. The weight of the mail 
handled by the mailing division amounts to nearly 30 tons per day. 

The free delivery system was introduced in Washington July 1, 
1863. This was the first day on which this system was used anywhere 
in the United States, and there were six other cities in which it was 
introduced on that day. The number of carriers now emjdoyed in 
the city is one hundred and forty-three. 



The Grandeur of the Phui of the Capital — Early Inhabitants — Early Attempts to 
Improve the City — Locality of First Improvements — Noted Residences in AVash- 
ington — (iiiotation from Benjamin 0. Tayloe — John Sessford's Statistics —About 
the Removal of the Capital — Work under the Charter of LS20 — Improvement on 
Pennsylvania Avenue — Senator Southard's Report — AV. W. Seaton's Report — 
Statistics of Buildings Erected in Recent Years — Census and Debt of the District 

— Progress Since the War — Change in Form of Government — The $4,000,000 Loan 

— Sewerage Built — Street Improvements — Governor Shepherd's Work — Area of 
Public Parks — Extent of Paved Streets. 

FROM the nature of things, it was to l)e expected that the growth 
of" the Ca})ital City wouhl be slow. The establishnieut of a great 
city in the midst of what was a wilderness, in every respect, appar- 
ently, unfitted for the location of such a city, was a project entirely new, 
and without a precedent in the world's history. In addition to this, the 
plan of the proposed city was one of a magnitude without a parallel. 
The idea of the projectors of this grand city embraced within its scope 
the erection of a site for a Federal city that was to have at the outset 
buildings not only sufficient for the accommodation of the Govern- 
ment of the new Republic, but buildings that sliould be in keeping 
with the grandeur of the nation that was to be. Especially prominent 
among these buildings w^ere the Capitol, for the accommodation of the 
legislative branch of the Government, and the house for the President. 
Other buildings for other purposes were also projected upon a scale 
simpler, it is true, than these, but yet sufficiently grand and commo- 
dious for the purposes that they were to subserve. All the ideas of 
the men who were principally concerned about this plan of the future 
Capital of the iSTation were grand in every way, and looked to a 
future that was far beyond the conception of most of their contempo- 
raries. These ideas, too, were far beyond what the accommodation of 
tlie Government at that time demanded, and were, indeed, in the 
opinion of many, far beyond what it was [)robable the Government 
ever would demand. 

The very fact that these public buildings were placed, upon the 
plan of the Capital City, in positions so remote from each other, ,was 


calculiited to retard the rapid growth of the Federal City. About this 
matter the notions of those who were placed in charge of the plan of 
the city vere very diverse, and it was not until almost the last moment 
that it was determined to locate the buildings destined as the meet- 
ing place of Congress and the residence of the President at so great 
a distance from each other. At one time it was thought best that the 
President's House should be in close proximity to the Capitol, and 
after the present location of the President's House was determined 
upon, there were several projects for using that building in connection 
with the legislative or the judiciary branch of the Government. How- 
ever this may have been, and howsoever various the projects of those 
who were concerned in the erection of the public buildings, the fact 
remains that in this wilderness, selected to be the site of the Federal 
Capital, these buildings were erected so far apart as to make their 
connection by an inhabited city a matter of the slow development of 
many years. 

It will be apparent to anyone who considers all the circumstances 
surrounding these beginnings of the city of Washington, that its early 
inhabitants must necessarily have been only those who were attracted 
by the operations of the Government, and, at the outset, particularly 
with reference to the erection of the public buildings. It is true, there 
may have been a few attracted to the city by the prospect it atibrded 
for speculation in the purchase of lots in the new city. It may have 
been that a number of persons who were connected with the General 
Government were at that early day induced to select places for their 
future residences in part with a view to convenience and the further 
view of their possible speculative value. It may be that there were 
persons induced by the hope that the future Capital would offer a 
place for investments of various kinds, and that all of these classes 
sought to become inhabitants of the future city. But however all 
this may have been, we know from the history of the times that 
for years the population of the city was very sparse and limited in 
numbers, and contined almost exclusively to the persons and their 
families who were in one way or another employed by the General 

It is matter of fact, too, that several attempts made toward the 
improvement of the city by the erection of dwelling houses in any 
considerable number with the view of making protit of them by 
renting them to the citizens of the town, ended in failure. The 
history of the times plainly shows that the earliest improvements of 
any account were made at what was known as Greeuleafs Point, and 


that as early as 1800 those who write about the eity of Washington 
speak of the houses erected in this locality as the handsomest and 
most commodious in the city. This seems remarkable at this day, 
because these buildings have been for man}- years mere ruins, and 
the places they occupied are so remote from the present residence 
portions of the city that it is surprising to us that such buildings 
should have been erected. Not very remote from this section of tlie 
city, too, were the buildings on what was known as "Twenty Build- 
ing Hill," about which there is a legend that a row of houses was 
built wliich were never occupied, and soon fell into ruin. All these 
buildings of which we have spoken were erected in the direction at 
least of the Capitol building. Perhaps this -was because, as in the 
early years of our history Congress had been by far the most impor- 
tant part of the Government, it was thought the Capitol would be 
the center of the Federal Cit}', and for that rtason the tendency of 
interest was in that direction. In this connection it nuiy not be amiss 
to state that the President of the United States himself selected a site 
and erected a building in the neighborhood of the Capitol, whicli was 
afterward known for many years as the "Washington Property," and 
is pointed out to-day to strangers as the house built by General 
Washington. In this neighborhood, too, were several other old resi- 
dences. The Chief Justice of the District of Columbia, William 
Cranch, the clerk of the local courts, and several other notables 
resided in this locality. 

On New Jersey Avenue, south of the Capitol, a number of fine 
old residences existed in that early day. Among them was that of 
Dr. Frederick May, the leading physician of the city, and a building 
occupied by one of the local banks. For many years after the organ- 
ization of the local courts of the District of Columbia they occupied 
buildings near the Capitol. But notwithstanding this apparent, or 
})erhaps we ought to say real, tendency of improvement in the 
direction of the Capitol building, for some reason, of which mention 
need not be made here, the real progress of the city took another 
direction, and passing over the difficulties that existed in the road 
between the Capitol and the President's residence, the city soon began 
to make the most ra})id progress in tlie location or vicinity of the 
presidential nuuision. A row of iiouses known as the "Six Buildings" 
was among the tirst indications of this progress, and another row 
known as the "Seven Buildings" was erected. Tlien came O'Xeil's 
hotel, known in later times as Gadsby's Row, and several others of 
minor im}»ortance erected in this neighborhood. Pennsylvania Avenue, 

GROW"/// .iND /.\/P/un'EMENT OF THE C/TV. 183 

the great thoroughfare between the Capitol and the President's House, 
seemed to oft'er the most advantageous location for the erection of 
liouses of business, and before long this street, which L'Eiifant had 
selected as the grand passageway between the legislative and executive 
departments, notwithstanding its line lay through what seemed to be 
an impenetrable morass and swamp, gave promise of being what he 
said it must be, a fine avenue. The ett'ect of all this w^as that the 
business portion of the city soon began to be established on t])is 
avenue, and the city grew fast along this line which connected the 
two residence portions of the city, the one in the vicinity of the Capi- 
tol, the other in tlie vicinity of the presidential mansion, and the streets 
adjoining it, more particularly to the north. This then became the 
section of the city first built up by those seeking residences here, 
more particularly those connected with the Government. 

At this early time, as may readily be conjectured, there were com- 
paratively few residences of special note, size, or elegance; but there 
were some of such beauty of design as to merit particular men- 
tion. One of the earliest houses built in the city of Washington was 
the residence of Colonel John Tayloe, at the intersection of New 
York Avenue and Eighteenth Street. It was erected by Colonel 
Tayloe at the suggestion of President Washington, his personal friend, 
who subsequently watched the progress of the work when he visited 
the embryo city. Tliis house was so erected as to face tlie Arlington 
House, on the opposite side of the river. It is in shape an octagon, 
and has always been known by that name. It still stands, but is 
now a ruin. jSTotwithstandiiig, however, its present dilapidation, it will 
l)ay anyone interested in such matters to examine the beauty and 
completeness of its interior arrangement. 

Another house erected in those early days was the mansion of 
General Van Ness, on what was known as Mansion Square, near the 
river at the foot of Seventeenth Street. This house was, when it 
was first erected, }tronounced the most elegant private mansion in 
the country. It was designed by Latrobe, and cost its owner a very 
large sum. 

Mr. Benjamin U. Tayloe, son of Colonel John Tayloe, writing 
about the city of Washington in 1800, makes use of the following 
language, which may appro[)riately be introduced in this connection: 

"I came to Washington in 1801, and remember it literally as rus 
in urbe, containing but a few thousand inhabitants scattered about in 
single houses apart from each other or in occasional groups, chiefly 
in the vicinity of the public buildings, from Georgetown to the Navy 


Yard. There whs scarcely any pavement, except in front of detached 
houses. The distinguished John Cotton Smith told me that when he 
was a Senator from Connecticut he attended President Adams's levee 
in Washington, in 1801, and that members of Congress living, like 
himself, on Capitol Hill, found it necessary to send to Baltimore for 
hackney coaches to convey them to the President's House; and to 
avoid the swamps of Pennsylvania Avenue, they had to travel along 
F Street and the high grounds adjoining. During Mr. Monroe's 
administration I have seen carriages mired in Pennsylvania Avenue, 
even then almost impassable, the city at that time not having less than 
ten thousand inhabitants. During my childhood, the Navy, War, and 
Post Office departments and the city post office were in one buikling 
on the site of tlio present War Department. That was sunk to the 
eves in a hollow prepared for it to make it on a level, as now, with 
the State and Treasury departments. Between the latter and the 
Capitol, its two wings only erected, there was but one building on 
Pennsylvania Avenue, then used as an apothecary shop, at the corner 
of Mnth Street, a small frame building built for public convenience 
by Dr. Bullus, of the navy, who was stationed at tlie ]^avy Yard." 

In sketching the improvements of the early days of Washington 
it seems to be ever}' way proper to make mention of those liistorical 
mansions within a short distance of the presidential residence which 
still give evidence of the taste displayed by our ancestors in the 
erection and arrangement of iheir homes. In describing these houses 
we shall be pardoned if we contine ourselves to the houses built 
around what is known as Lafayette Square, directly in front of and 
forming a part of the grounds of the President's Mansion. 

The first private house erected on this square was known as the 
Decatur House. It was erected by Commodore Decatur. It is an 
elegant house to-day, and has been the residence, at different times, of 
some of the most distinguished men of the country. After the mel- 
anchol}' death of Commodore Decatur, it was occupied by the British 
minister, Mr. Stratford Canning, afterward Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. 
It was afterward occupied by the Russian minister, by Mr. Van Buren 
when he was Secretary of State, and by Sir Charles Vaughn, the 
British minister. After this, it became the property of Mr. John 
Gadsby, and after being his residence for some time, it was occupied 
by the brothers King, sons of Rufus King, and then by Vice-President 
George M. Dallas. It was subsequently occupied by Hon. Judah P. 
Benjamin, since then well known as one of the chiefs of the Southern 


Almost directly opposite the Decatur House is the house which was 
for so long a time the residence of Mr. W. W. Corcoran, and where 
he ended his days. It was erected by Thomas Swann, formerly of 
Alexandria, one of whose sons was at one time governor of Maryland, 
and the other a distinguished physician at IMiiladelphia. It was for 
some time the residence of Baron Krudener, the liussian minister, and 
it was afterward the residence of lion. Aaron Vail, Charge d'Affaires 
at London, England, during the negotiations which resulted in the 
securing of the Smithson bequest. Mr. Webster, when Secretary of 
State under General Harrison, occupied this house, and when he 
vacated it, it became the property of Mr. Corcoran. While in his 
possession, during his absence in Europe, it was occupied by the 
Marquis de Montholon, Minister of France to the United States. 

Situated on this square and fronting its northeast corner is what 
has always been known as the Madison House, now owned and occu- 
pied by the Cosmos Club. It was the residence of Mrs. Madison, the 
relict of President Madison. It was built by the IIoiJ. Richard Cutts, 
formerly member of Congress from the district of Maine. This house 
was the property for many years of Admiral Wilkes, who commanded 
the great exploring expedition sent out by our Government in 1838. 
He died in this house. 

Near this mansion is the house of Colonel Benjamin Ogle Tayloe, 
now the residence of Senator Cameron, of Pennsylvania, and which 
has been for the greater part of half a century the scene of magnificent 

Next to this is the house built by Commodore Rogers, which 
was the residence of Roger B. Taney while he was Secretary of the 
Treasury, and of Mr. Paulding when Secretary of the Navy. During 
the War it was occupied by Secretary Seward, and it was in this house 
that the attack was made upon the Secretary and his son, Frederick 
W. Seward, at the time of the assassination of President Lincoln. It 
is at the present time owned and occupied as a residence by Hon, 
James G. Blaine, Secretary of State. 

On the north side of the square stands the mansion built by 
Matthew St. Clair Clarke, at one time clerk of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, and which to-day is one of the handsomest residences in 
the city. This house was occu[)ied at one time by Lord Ashburton, 
Special Ambassador from Great Britain, and at another time by Sir 
Henry Bulwer, the British minister. It was also the residence of 
Mr. George Riggs, and later of Mr. Meredith, when Secretary of the 


Not far tVoiii this mansion, on tlio same side of the square, is 
tiic house in which Thomas Ritchie, the great editor, liad his home. 
Mr. Jolm Slidell, Senator from Louisiana, afterward distinguished in 
Confederate annals, occupied tliis house, and Mr. Welles, while he was 
Secretary of the Navy, made it his residence. 

Without dwelling further on the particular improvements of 
Washington in the early day, it may be sufKcient to give here such 
statistics as are accessible concerning the improvements made for a 
period of years reaching up to about the year 1850. 

According to John Sessford, a citizen of Washington wdio made 
the collection of such statistics a specialty, the number of houses 
and other buildings erected in the years from 1810, when he counted 
them himself, to 185^^, both years inclusive, was as follows: 

In 1819, there were 2,028 houses, and 129 other shops and other 
buildings; in 1820, there were erected 113 houses and shops; in 1821, 
90 houses; in 1822, 113 houses, 7 shops, and 6 additions; in 1823, 69 
houses, 7 shops, and 9 additions; in 1824, 49 houses, 6 shops, and 8 
additions; in 1825, 68 houses, 15 shops, and 10 additions; in 1826, 102 
houses, 23 shops, and 15 additions; in 1827, 123 houses, 25 shops, and 
23 additions; in 1828, 158 houses, 23 shops, and 24 additions; in 
1829, 148 Ijouses, 15 shops, and 17 additions. The total number of 
houses, etc., erected in Washington during the decade ending in 1829 
was 1,033 houses, 130 shops, and 112 additions. 

In 1830, the number of houses erected was 178, shops 24, and 
additions 14; in 1831, 148 houses and 38 shops; in 1832, 62 houses 
and 12 shops; in 1833, 72 houses, 12 shops, and 12 additions; in 1834, 
63 liouses, 11 sho[)S, and 7 additions; in 1835, 42 houses, 10 shoi)S, and 
18 additions; in 1836, 41 liouses, 15 shops, and 15 additions; in 1837, 
63 houses, 18 shops, and 9 additions; in 1838, 85 houses, 21 shops, and 
9 additions; in 1839, 141 houses, 12 shops, and 14 additions. Total 
nundjer of liouses, etc., erected in Washington during the ten years 
ending in 1839, was, houses, 895; shops, 173, and additions, 98. 

In 1840, there were erected 178 houses, 13 shops, and 14 additions; 
in 1841, 216 houses, 23 shops, and 13 additions; in 1842, 295 houses, 14 
shops, and 21 additions; in 1843, 322 houses, 10 shops, and 23 addi- 
tions; in 1844, 357 houses, 18 sho})S, and 24 additions; in 1845, 338 
houses, 28 shops, and 24 additions; in 1846, 208 houses, 16 shops, and 
17 additions; in 1847, 128 houses, 6 shops, and 9 additions; in 1848, 
141 houses, 11 shops, and 29 additions; in 1849, 184 houses, 9 shops, 
and 17 additions. Total number of houses, etc., erected during the 
ten years, 2,367 houses, 148 shops, and 191 additions. 


In 1850, there were erected 292 houses, 25 shops, and 24 additions; 
in 1851, 453 houses, 28 shops, and 44 additions; in 1852, G32 houses, 19 
shops, and 3 additions; in 1853, 556 liouses, 22 shops, and 51 additions. 

In 1850, according to Mr. Sessford, there was erected the first 
four-story buiUling in Washington, and during the year there were 
erected 10 of these buildings. In 1851, tliere was erected 1 four-story 
buikling; in 1852, 25; and in 1853, 28. 

By wards the number of houses erected was as follows: From 
1819 to 1829, First Ward, 129; Second Ward, 251; Third Ward, 474; 
Fourth Ward, 68; Fifth Ward, 38; Sixth Ward, 73; total, 1,033. 

From 1829 to 1839, First Ward, 141; Second Ward, 226; Third 
Ward, 296; Fourth Ward, 46; Fifth Ward, 175; Sixth Ward, 11; 
total, 895. 

From 1839 to 1849, First Ward, 364; Second Ward, 472; Third 
Ward, 907; Fourth Ward, 217; Fifth Ward, 175; Sixth Ward, 123; 
Seventh Ward, 109; total, 2,367. 

From 1849 to 1853, First Ward, 227; Second Ward, 342; Third 
Ward, 291; Fourth Ward, 390; Fifth Ward, 150; Sixth Ward, 104; 
Seventh, 429; total, 1,933. 

In what we have said so far we have attempted to show the 
beginnings of this great enterprise of founding a capital city and its 
gradual progress through its early history to the date last mentioned. 
It will not be permissible to omit some notice of the fact that in 
the year 1814 this Capital City was invaded by the British troops and 
its public buildings destroyed by those ruthless invaders. The details 
of this attack upon the city of Washington will be related in anotlier 
part of this work. Suffice it to say here, that not onl}- were these 
buildings that had cost so much time and treasure in their erection 
destroyed so as to make, them of little or no use for the purposes 
for which they had been constructed, but the cpiestion immediately 
arose as to whether they should be reconstructed at all or not. It 
is not material to our purpose in this history to recount here the 
various arguments that were used both for and against the permanency 
of the establishment of the Capital City. These debates were but a 
renewal of the controversy that existed at the time of the foundation 
of the city. A long struggle ensued, but it was finally determined to 
reconstruct the Federal buildings, and to continue the seat of govern- 
ment at the spot originally selected for its permanent residence. All 
this, of course, had the effect to retard seriously the progress, or in 
other words the growth and improvement, of the city of Washington. 
As far as we can ascertain from the records of those times, little or 


iiotliing was done toward the improvement of the streets and thor- 
oughfares of the city, except by the Government authorities themselves 
in and about the public reservations and buildings. The streets were 
generally left in the condition of country roads or lanes, and were not 
at all in keeping with the dignity of the Federal City. The city, so 
far as its internal atfairs were concerned, was in the hands of a local 
government consisting of a Mayor and two boards, one of aldermen 
and the other of councilmen, elected by the people, as has been 
related in another chapter of this history. Tlieir powers and resources 
w^ere altogether insufficient for purposes other than those pertaining 
to an inconsequential towm. 

In 1820, Congress granted a new charter to the city of Wash- 
ington, by which it repealed all acts of incorporation theretofore 
granted, and enacted that the commissioners of the public buildings and 
other persons appointed to superintend disbursements in the city of 
Washington should reimburse to the city a proportion of the expenses 
incurred in improving any of the streets or avenues bordering upon 
or joining any of the public squares or buildings, and cause the 
sidewalks to be furnished with curbs and paved footways, whenever 
the corporation should direct such improvements to be made by the 
proprietors of the lots on the opposite side of the street or avenue, 
and directing also that such officer should defray such expense out 
of moneys arising from the sale of lots in the city of Washington 
belonging to the United States. 

It will be seen from this that the provision made for the improve- 
ment of the streets, avenues, and sidewalks of the city of Washington 
at that earl}' day was conditioned on the fact that the street to be 
improved bordered upon public reservations or other public property, 
and that the money used for such improvement was raised from the 
sale of lots reserved to the Government. The Uuv in this respect 
remained in this condition for many years, and it is safe to sa}' that 
there was no improvement to speak of in the cit}' of Washington 
for many years after it was established. 

In 1830, Congress took steps toward such an improvement of 
Pennsylvania Avenue as would make it a proper and convenient 
thoroughfare between the Capitol and the presidential mansion. A 
resolution to that effect was passed by the House of Representatives, 
and the Committee of the District of Columbia was instructed to 
inquire into the expediency of making provision for the repair and 
improvement of this avenue on the macadam or some other permanent 
plan. The committee to which this matter was referred made a report 


to tlie House of Representatives at the first session of tlie Twenty- 
first Congress, accompanied by a bill providing for the imi)rovenient 
of the avenue in question. It is significant in this connection that, in 
in tliis report, the committee used the following language: 

"In reply to the suggestion which may perhaps be made, that 
the city of Washington ought to execute this work for its own 
accommodation, your committee beg leave to make a few remarks, in 
addition to the facts above stated, in relation to the importance of 
the work to the General Government. This city is already suffering 
under a burden of local taxation, more severe perhaps than any other 
portion of the country, and is therefore unable to incur so great an 

"At any rate, under their circumstances, their necessit}- for the 
proposed improvement does not justify the expenditure. 

"Some of the causes of this oppressive state of things will be 
found in the fact that the Government has extensive domains in the 
city exempt from taxation, and in the embarrassment arising from the 
peculiar and unfortunate condition in which this entire district is 
placed. In connection with this it should not be forgotten how much 
the public lands here have been augmented in value by those exten- 
sive city improvements whicli have contributed largely to the existing 
burthens of the people. The extended scale upon which the Govern- 
ment originally laid out the city, and the number and width of its 
streets, have also greatly increased its expenses. 

"Believing there has been some misapprehension in the public 
mind in regard to the amount of Government expenditures for the 
benefit of this District, compared with the amount of money received 
from the sale of land therein, beyond its cost, and the value of lands 
still unsold, your committee have thought proper to procure a state- 
ment of facts relating to this subject, which is hereto annexed. 

"From this statement it appears that there has already been 
received, from tlie sale of public lands in this District, beyond the 
cost of all the lands purchased by the Government, the sum of 
1696,618. G8; that the estimated cash value of lands still unsold amounts 
to $1,091,174.09, maldng in the whole $1,787,792.77. 

"All the appropriations of money b}' Congress for the benefit 
of this District, independent of the public buildings for the General 
Government, amount to $186,860.48; of this sum there lias been appro- 
priated for a penitentiary, a courthouse, and jails, $144,295.79. There 
are many other considerations which might be presented to show that 
the General Government ought to exercise a liberal spirit toward this 


District; but tlie}' will be reserved for a more important occasion, wlien 
its general concerns shall be exhibited in pui-snance of another resolu- 
tion of this House." 

It is within the memory of many of tlie present inhabitants of 
this city that this project for the improvement of Penns3lvania Avenue 
was carried into effect, and that great thoroughfare was improved 
upon tlie plan of Macadam from the gates of the Capitol to the 
President's House. But it is worthy of remark that even in making 
this improvement Congress manifested liow little the responsibility of 
the Government Avas realized in respect to its duty in the matter 
of improving the Capital City. 

In 1835, a report was made by Senator Southard, of the Senate 
Committee on the District of Columbia, which is such a full exposition 
of the affairs of the District that an abstract of it is appropriate here. 
The report called the attention of the Senate to the fact that the city 
of Washington was then involved in pecuniary obligations from 
which it was utterly impossible that it could extricate itself by any 
means within its own control, or by any exertions which it might 
make, unaided by Congressional legislation. Its actual debts amounted 
then to 11,806,442.59, and according to the committee's view there 
was danger that the city might be driven to a surrender of its charter, 
and then be thrown entirely upon Congress for its support. A por- 
tion of the debt of the city had been incurred by its investment in 
the stock of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and as the debt thus 
incurred must soon be discharged, and as the creditors were foreign 
bankers, the}' would in all probability become the owners of a large 
proportion of the property within the limits of the Capital. 

Besides this, the people had done what the}' could to improve the 
streets; but owing to the unusual extent and magnitude of the plan 
of the city and the width of the streets and avenues, when compared 
with the entire number of the inhabitants, then numbering but little 
more than twent}' thousand, little, comparatively, had been accom- 
plished. The avenues varied in width from IGO feet down to 120 
feet, and the streets, from 147 feet down to 80 feet; and the avenues 
and streets that had to be opened and repaired in order to fill up the 
plan of the city, extended to a distance of more than 60 miles. Upon 
the streets there had been expended since the 3'ear 1800 an average 
annual sum of $13,000, besides an equal amount assessed upon the 
citizens for gutters, pavements, etc. This expenditure made upon 
the streets was undoubtedly one of the })rincipal causes of embar- 
rassment to the city, and according to the committee making this 


report, the iiiluibitants Imd had to hoar iiiiich more than their pro- 
portionate share of the bui'den. 

At the beginning of the occupation of this city as tlie seat of 
government, that Government did not expect that tlie inha]>itants 
of the city shoukl bear the burden that was tlien thrown upon tiiem. 
This was shown, first, by the consideration that the contract between 
the Government and the owners of the lands gave to the Government 
a hirge extent of the public lots, sufficient for all the edifices and 
improvements which its convenience would recpiire, and, in addition 
to this, one-half of all the building lots within the limits of the city. 
In the second place, the Government assumed exclusive control over 
all the streets of the citj^ so that neither the corporate authorities 
nor the people had any right to enlarge or diminish them, to open or 
to close them. It could not, therefore, be held either reasonable or just 
that the city itself should bear the expense of the improvement of the 
streets, the property and control of which were absolutely in the Gov- 

There had been appropriated for the streets and paid out of the 
public treasury $429,971, and in addition to this the inhabitants 
had paid fully $200,000 for the improvement of the streets in vari- 
ous directions. Previous to that year there had been made 100,371 
feet of running pavement, besides curbstones and paved gutters, 
which were paid for by a special tax upon the lots, and to wliich the 
lots owned by the Government had contributed nothing, although 
equally benefitted with the private lots. During all this time the 
Government had expended upon its own streets only $208,905, all of 
which, except $10,000, had been devoted to l^ennsylvania Avenue 
and the streets immediately in the vicinity of the Capitol and the 
presidential mansion. Th,e committee thought that Congress ought 
to refund to the city one-half of the amount it had expended upon 
the streets, namely, $214,985, to say nothing about the interest. 

Another cause of embarrassment under which the city was then 
laboring was the attempt to erect a City llall, which so far as then com- 
pleted liad cost $50,000. To assist in the erection of this City Hall 
a grant was made of the right to draw^ lotteries until the profits 
should amount to $100,000. The drawing of these lotteries was 
intrusted to men who failed in the discharge of tlieir duties, and the 
result was that the city was involved in a debt of $197,184.84, upon 
which it had already paid $70,000 in interest. The number of build- 
ing lots that were acquired by tlie Government w\as 10,130, a large 
proportion of which luid then been sold, and the account of the 


Government with relation to tliese lots was as follows: It had received 
from the sale of building lots $741,024.45; it had given away to 
charitable institutions lots to the value of $70,000; it had remaining 
lots unsold valued at $109,221.84; it had received in grants from 
Maryland and Virginia, $192,000; making a total of $1,112,246.29, to 
which must be added the value of the public reservations, $1,500,000, 
making a grand total of $2,612,24(3.29. 

The total appropriation for the benetit of the city made by the 
Government was $150,000, to enable it to complete the canal uniting 
the waters of the Potomac with those of the Eastern Branch. 

In 1848, a committee, consisting of W. W. Seaton, Mayor of the 
city, John W. Maury, B. B. French, Ignatius Mudd, Lewis Johnson, 
Silas Hill, George E. Abbott, and G. II. Fulmer, was appointed to 
attend to the interests of the city of Washington before Congress. 
These gentlemen, who were the most prominent in the city at the 
time, and most thoroughly acquainted with its atfairs, presented their 
views at length in the following statement: 

When the present site was adopted by Congress for the Capital 
of the Nation, it consisted of a number of farms owned by eighteen or 
twenty different proprietors. These proprietors of the land conveyed 
the whole of it to the Government, for the purpose of establishing 
thereon a public city, according to such pUm as the President might 
adopt. A i)lan was accordingly laid out, and adopted by President 
Washington, upon a magniticent scale, suited to the dignity of the 
Republic, and with a view to its resplendent future, with vast streets 
and avenues from 100 to 160 feet wide, and embracing an area of 7,134 
acres. Of this great space, only 3,016 acres were appropriated iu the 
plan to the building lots, the renuiinder (4,118 acres) being taken up 
with reservations for the Government editices and other purposes, streets, 
avenues, and parks. Of the whole 7,134 acres, the Government paid 
the proprietors for but 512 acres, at the rate of £25, or $66.66, per 
acre, and returning to them one moiety of the building lots (1,508 
acres), retaining as a free gift the entire residue of 5,114 acres, includ- 
ing one-half of the building lots. The proceeds of the sales of the 
building lots so retained by the Government, it was understood by 
the proprietors, were to be applied toward the improvement of the 
l)lace, in grading and making streets, erecting bridges, and in provid- 
ing such other conveniences as the residence of the Government might 
require. This [)romised improvement naturally devolved upon the 
Government, in whom was vested the right to the soil and the right 
of jurisdiction over the inhabitants. Yet for many years the Govern- 


ment failed in its perfoniuuice, leaving everytliiiig to be done l)y private 
individuals. These improvements, so made by the city itself, and paid 
for by levying- taxes upon the people, up to January 1, 1848, had cost 
the following sums: There had been made about 25 miles of streets, 
and there had been expended on streets, avenues, and [)ai'ks, $025,000; 
there had been made 2,200,000 feet of paved footways, })aid for by 
special tax upon the property, costing $110,000; there had been 
expended on the support of the poor and insane, $175,000; there had 
been expended in educating the children of the poor, $100,000; there 
had been expended on the police force, $32,000; and the city was 
burdened with a debt arising from various sources of $820,000, and 
it had paid in interest on this debt $850,000. 

While the city of Washington had been doing all this. Congress 
or the Government had done comparatively nothing. Had the prop- 
ert}^ of the Government been taxed as that of private citizens had 
been, it would bave yielded about $60,000 per year; but the Govern- 
ment had paid nothing in the sbape of taxes, nor anything out of the 
fund derived from the sale of lots granted to it by the proprietors. 
The most the Government had done for the corporation of Washington 
was to relieve it from the burden of the stock of the Chesapeake and 
Ohio Canal Company, from which, however, it had a debt on its hands 
of about $700,000 on account of interest and expenses connected 
therewith. The Government had received about $800,000 from the 
sale of its lots, $72,000 from Maryland, and $120,000 from Virginia, 
and the value of its property in the city at that time was about 

From the time of the close of the labors of John Sessford, in 
1853, down to the organization of the permanent form of govern- 
ment, as explained in thet Municipal chapter, there are no statistics 
accessible showing in detail the growth of the city as to the number 
of houses or other buildings erected from year to year, except 
those on the assessors' books, wliich are scattered through numerous 
volumes. To collect these statistics would involve very great labor 
with comparatively little result, and hence no attempt is made to 
make such a collection. Commencing, however, with the report of 
the inspectors of buildings for the year closing November 1, 1877, it 
is practicable to present in brief space this particular feature of the 
growth of the city from that time down to the present. From 
November, 1876, to November, 1877, there were erected, in the aggre- 
gate, buildings to the number of 1,508; to June 30, 1878, 1,001; to 
June 30, 1879, 1,981; to June 30, 1880, 1,921; to June 30, 1881. 1,792; 



to June 30, 1882, 1,730; to June 30, 1883, 2,215; to June 30, 1884, 
2,915; to June 30, 1885, 3,691; to June 30, 188(3, 5,451; to June 30, 
1887, 4,740; to June 30, 1888, 3,094; to June 30, 1889, 4,048; to June 
30, 1890, 4,523. 

In this connection the census of Washington, Georgetown, and 
the county outside, from 1850 to 1890, may liere he introduced. 







s, :•,(•)(_) 




1 88,932 











On January 4, 1885, the debt of the District of Columbia and of 
the then late corporation of Washington was, according to the pub- 
lished statement of Treasurer Wyman, ex officio commissioner of the 
sinking fund of the District, as follows: . 

Bonds of the Distrrt of Columbia. 



Permanent ImproA^ement Bonds of 1871. 

Market Stock of 1871 

Market Stock of 1871-72 

Permanent Improvement, 1873 

Water Stock, 1873. 

Fifty Year Funding, 1874-75 

Twenty Year Funding, 1879-80 

Washington Corporation — 

Three Year, 1870 

Twenty Year Funding, 1872 

Tiiirty Year Funding, 1872 






















1 ,020,350 




The foregoing reports nuide to Congress and the statements of 
the citizens, of all of which we liave given abstracts, serve to show 
not only that the city had made little or no progress down to the date 
to which we have last referred, but that all its attempts at progress 
had been obstructed by the want of interest taken in its aftairs by 
the Congress of the United States, to which it had a right to look 
for at least a certain measure of support. The history of the years 
that succeeded is only a repetition of that of the years that had 
preceded. Little or nothing was done either by Cong:ress or the peo- 
ple themselves toward putting the city into respectable condition or 
toward the development of its plan. The Government erected several 
elegant public buildings; the Capitol was extended, and the dome 
erected; the Patent Office, Treasury extension, Lafayette Square, and 
several other effective improvements were carried to completion. But 
in a general way matters remained in the unsatisfactory condition we 
have described, until the beginning of the War of the Kebellion, an 
account of which will be found in another part of this work. The 
effect of this war was to demonstrate more clearly than it had ever 
been shown before, the vast importance to the Nation of the preserva- 
tion of the Capital City. Indeed this city was the great central point 
in the history of that war. The troops that were organized and sent 
to the tiekl, to a great extent were first brought to this city, and 
their organization, their supplies, everything that conduced to their 
efficiency as troops, had origin and control within this city as a center 
of operations. The etfect of all this was to bring to the city of 
Washington people from all parts of the country, and it is not too 
much to say that the sentiment of all American citizens with respect 
to the Capital City was one of disappointment at its condition, and 
surprise that so little progress had been made in its development in 
all the years that had succeeded its establishment. This feelinir con- 
tinned through years after the war. Some of the citizens fell back 
upon the old notion tliat the only remedy for this condition of things 
was the removal of the Capital from its present situation to a portion 
of the country where more respect would be shown for its progress 
and development. 

This matter, though for some time publicly discussed in the news- 
papers, received little or no attention from Congress. But the feeling 
was so intense that it became manifest to the people of Washington 
that something must be done to make the city worthy of its name 
and its importance. There is no need to dwell upon this, an account 
of which would, of itself, till a volume. Before leaving this subject, 


however, it seems proper to refer to the fact tliat an effort was 
made, under the old municipal form of government, to improve the 
streets by paving them with wooden blocks, which was then a very 
popular kind of pavement. The right to these pavements was the 
property of several patentees. The general contract was given in 
1870 to Lewis Clephane, as president of the Metropolitan Paving 
Company, to pave Pennsylvania Avenue, and possibly other streets. 
Work began on this avenue October 31, and was continued until the 
paving of the avenue from the gates of the Capitol to Fifteenth Street 
was completed, an event which was celebrated in an appropriate 

But this was only a beginning. The wooden pavements, as might 
have been expected, rotted away, became a dreadful nuisance, and had 
to be removed. But the}'^ had the effect of presenting to the people 
the advantages of smooth, durable surfaces on the public streets, and 
of the benefits that would arise from the cleanliness derived from good 
drainage, not only to the public health, but to the general appearance 
of the city in every w\ay. It is safe to say that from this time the 
era of improvement that was so soon to transform the city takes 
its beginning. A people that had once enjoyed the blessing of 
smooth, clean thoroughfares were not willing to return to the mud 
and discomfort of the olden times without an effort, at least, to save 
themselves from that disaster. It was evident that the difficulty was 
in the very nature of the affairs of the District, and that nothing 
could be effected without first making a change in the methods of 
government then existing. The result was that legislation w\as secured 
that in the first place changed the nature of the government of the 
city into a Territorial government for the entire District of Columbia, 
which was under the control of a Governor and civil council; next, to a 
temporary or experimental government by commissioners, appointed by 
the President of the United States, and clothed with executive powers 
over the affairs of the District; and lastl}', into the present or permanent 
form of government, consisting also of commissioners appointed by 
the I'resident and clothed with executive powers. In the debates 
preceding the legislation out of which this form of government grew, 
the question of its duty to the city as the Capital of the I^ation was 
l^resented to Congress. After considerable debate, in which projects 
were offered and considered, it was finally determined that the 
revenues of the District of Columbia collected from taxes imposed 
upon its citizens should be paid into the treasury of the United States, 
and disbursed under acts of appropriation passed by Congress, in every 

GROW 77/ ./.\7; IMPROM-lMI'lXr OF 77 /JC Cf/'V. 197 

respect as other public moneys of tlie United States are disbursed; and 
that it should be the duty of the Government of the United States, 
to the extent that the estimates made for the expenses of the Govern- 
ment should be appropriated by Congress, to appropriate the amount 
of lifty per centum thereof out of the public moneys of tlie United 
States. The act is as follows, on this point: 

"To the extent to which Congress shall approve aforesaid esti- 
mates" (that is, the amount estimated for the support of the District 
Government), "Congress shall appropriate the amount of fifty per 
centum thereof, and the remaining fifty per centiim of such approved 
estimates shall be levied and assessed upon the taxable property and 
privileges of said District Government." 

This legislation, as a matter of course, changed the condition of 
things in the District of Columbia almost entirely. It may be well 
to mention what was done in the matter of this legislation more in 
detail, as an introduction to the history of the improvements which 
preceded and followed this final act of Congress. 

The Territorial government, of which we have already spoken, 
went into operation June 1, 1871. On June 20, the board of public 
works, consisting of Henry D, Cooke, Governor, Alexander K. Shep- 
herd, S. P. Brown, A. B. Mullett, and James A. Magruder, members, 
submitted to the Legislative Assembly of the District estimates for 
improvements amounting in the aggregate to $6,578,397, and recom- 
mended that the District should provide for the payment thereof by 
a loan of $4,000,000, and an assessment of $2,000,000. July 10, the 
Legislative Assembly passed a bill making an appropriation of $4,000,- 
000 for improvements in the District of Columbia, and authorizing 
an issue of twenty- year seven per cent, bonds in payment for the 
same. Application was made to the Equity Court for an injunction 
against the issue of the bonds, which being granted by Judge Wylie, 
the Legislative Assembly, on August 11, 1871, passed a supplemental 
ap[)ropriation bill of $500,000 for the purpose of avoiding the technical 
difliculties raised by the injunctionists, and work was immediately 
commenced. The injunction was subsequently dissolved, and by a 
later act the Legislative Assendjly reduced the appropriations made 
by $500,000, thus putting the amount at $4,000,000, the original appro- 
priation. The Legislative Assembly at the same time referred the 
$4,000,000 loan to the people at an election held November 21, 1871, 
and the proposition was almost unanimously sustained. 

Thus sustained and fortified by the popular voice, the board of 
public works felt safe in inaugurating a system of improvements, par- 


ticiilarly on tlie streets, which astonished the people of tlie District 
of Columbia by its niagnitiule and extent, and which caused much 
harsh and ungenerous criticism by people all over the country, and 
es})ecially l^y those who were immediately concerned in the District 
itself, whose taxes were greatly increased, and whose convenience was 
seriously interfered with. U[) to the time of the establishment of this 
board of public works, no system of grades had been established, and 
the inauguration of a system of sewers required numerous changes in 
the grades as they then existed, and some of these changes were of a 
very radical nature. This was the first great difficulty encountered 
by the board. The next difficulty was with the streets themselves, 
comprising, as they did and do, a greater percentage of the entire 
area- of the city than those of any other city in the world. 

The sewerage of the city had received almost no attention previ- 
ous to the establishment of the board of public works. A large 
pro[)ortion of the drainage emptied into an o})en ditch, called the 
canal, and the current of water, (le})ending as it did u})On the ebb 
and iiow of the tides, was wholly insufficient to carry ott" the deposits 
made at the outlets of the sewers emptying into it. The canal thus 
became an exceedingly oltensive and disgusting object and a most 
prolific source of [)estilence. How to abate this nuisance had been 
a great problem among scientific and practical men for twenty-five 
years, and it had not yet been solved. It soon became clear to tliis 
practical board of public works that an intersecting sewer at this point 
was a necessity, as all of the great sewers from the nurthern portion 
of the city had been let into the canal. At length it was determined 
to Imild an intersecting sewer from Seventh to Seventeenth Street, 
following a course parallel to the canal, and emptying into the river 
at the foot of Seventeenth Street; and another intersecting sewer 
from Sixth to Third Street, emptying into the Tiber arch on Third 
Street. These sewers vary in diameter from five to twelve feet. After 
their constructicni it was soon seen that the problem unsolved for a 
quarter of a century had found a solution. 

The Tiber Creek sewer, which receives all the sewage of the city 
east of Sixth Street West, and which drains an extent of country 
northward of more than three thousand acres, is one of the largest 
in the world, varying in diameter from twenty-four to thirty feet, and 
is of abundant capacity for all future time. Other sewers were con- 
structed in different })arts of the city as needed, but it is not deemed 
necessary' to particularize further on this subject. 

Previous to November 1, 1872, there had been laid 116.36 miles 

GROW"/'// .IN/) /A//yx'()rEA//':iYT OF T//E C/TY. 199 

of street pavements of various kinds, including 34.26 miles of wood 
pavements, embracing those of Pennsylvania Avenue and several other 
of the city streets. These wood pavements were of several kinds — 
the Ballard, Miller, Stovve, Moree, Keystone, IngersoU, and De Golyer, 
Nos. 1 and 2. There were also 39.22 miles of gravel pavements, this 
kind of roads being made mostly in the country. Of asphalt pave- 
ments, the following kinds had been laid: The Scharf, the Evans, the 
Scrimshaw or Abljott, and the Parisian. 

The improvement of the streets was by no means a small matter. 
It was necessary to equalize the grades; for while the city of Washington 
is situated on what is sometimes called a plain, yet it presents numer- 
ous and great inequalities. The White House grounds are but fifteen 
feet above mean low water; Capitol Hill is ninety feet above low water; 
Pennsylvania Avenue is, in some places, below high water mark; Ob- 
servatory Hill is ninety-six feet above tide water; and in 1876 there 
were between Capitol Hill and Observatory Hill elevations of one 
hundred and three feet, which had to be cut down and the ravines 
and hollows tilled up and made as nearly level as practicable when 
the necessary drainage was taken into account. 

In addition to all the work done upon the streets, a great work 
was done by the parking commission, consisting of William II. 
Smith, William Saunders, and John Saul. Beginning in the spring 
of 1872 and continuing down to the present time, this commission 
has been steadily at work improving the streets and parks by the 
planting of trees, shrubs, and flowers, until the result is that all over 
the city the streets and parks are most beautifully shaded and the 
pleasantness and healthful ncss thereof greatly enhanced, the city now 
being in this regard one of the most charming cities of the world. 
The transformation from an unhealthy, unsightly city to a city of 
flne, graded, graveled and paved, and shaded streets, well liglited at 
niglit, an extended system of sewerage, an eflicient water supply, miles 
upon miles of shade, and acres upon acres of beautiful parks, includ- 
ing the Mall, the Smithsonian grounds, the Washington Monument 
grounds, the President's Square, Lafayette Square, and numerous 
others, was the most sur}»rising and complete. 

It is not iinpro[)er in this connection to observe and to record for 
the beneiit of future generations, that the presiding genius of this 
great transformation and improvement was Alexander R. Shepherd.' 

1 Alexander E. Shepherd was born in Washington City, .Jannary 31, 1835. At the 
age of ten he was apprenticed to a carpenter, and when seventeen, to tlie trade of a 
plumljer; he became some years afterward a partner in the firm of John W. Thomp- 


While the first Governor of the District of Columbia was Henry 
D. Cooke, a most estimable gentleman, Mr. Shepherd, in his position 
of vice-president of the board of public works, and afterwards when 
he became himself Governor, exercised superintendence over all tlie 
work that was done. Under Mr. Shepherd the rapidity and extent 
of the work performed was most extraordinary — so great, indeed, as 
far to exceed the authority of law under wliicli he was working, and 
also so great as to call for the expenditure of money far in excess of 
the appropriations. The work was performed b}' Governor Shepherd 
with an honest purpose for the benetit of the city. His ambition was 
to make it the pride instead of the reproach of the Nation, and to 
render it, so far as anything could or can render it, the permanent 
Capital of tlie great American Government. As to the amount 
expended exceeding the appropriations. Governor Shepherd boldly told 
the committee of investigation appointed in Februar}', 1874, to inquire 
into the proceedings of the board of public works, that inasmuch as 
the public buildings of the Government, which paid no taxes to the 
city, were greatly benefitted b}' the improvements made by the excess 
of expenditures complained of, the Government should in duty to 
itself assume that excess of liabilities; and there are now living those 
who believe that had Governor Shepherd retained his position and 
been permitted to complete the work begun by him, this result, so 
much to be desired, would have been accomplished. However this 

son ife Company, plumbers and gas titters in the city of Washington, and finally 
succeeded to the business in his own name. When the Rebellion cooimenced he was 
one of the first to volunteer his services in tlie cause of the Union. In 1861, he 
was elected a member of the Common Council of the citj^ of Washington and was 
chosen president uf that body; he was a member of the Levy Court of the District of 
Columbia in 1867, and in 1869 was one of a committee of citizens selected to draft a bill 
for the better government of the District of Columbia, in which work he took a lead- 
ing part. In 1870, he became president of the Citizens' Reform Association and was 
also elected an alderman of the city. In 1871, he was appointed a member of the Board 
of Public Works of the District of Columbia under the act of Congress of that year, 
abolishing the then existing government and creating a Territorial government for the 
District; he was elected vice-president of the board, the Governor under the law being 
ex officio president. He was, in 1873, ajipointed the second Governor of the District 
and remaineil in that office until June 20, 1874, when the form of the government of 
the District of Columbia was again changed by an act of Congress apjM'oved that day. 
"Sir. Shepherd showed himself at all times, and in every i)08ition held by him, a man 
of distinguished ability, strong in his conviction of what was right, and always loyal 
to his convictions. He was ahead of his times in his opinion of what was best for the 
interests of the city of Washington, and to his boldness as a leader and his fearless 
adoption of the means in his hands is due, more than to all things else beside, the 
wonderful development of the beauties ami advantages of the city of his birth. Mr. 
Shepherd has, for several years [last, l^een a resident of Mexico, where he owns 
valuable mining interests, to which he is devoting his energies. 


might huve been, the results of liis great work are everywhere visible; 
they are enjoyed by tiiose who opposed and criticized him as well as 
by those who approved his work and stood by him. The great debt 
created has been advantageously funded, and will be paid l)y the future 
as well as by the present. At this time many of those who were liis 
detractors have become his eulogists. 

In closing this chapter it may be well to present in brief the 
number and extent of the pul)lic reservations and the length of the 
streets and avenues. The public grounds of the city of Washington 
consist of 331 reservations, containing 413.32 acres of land. Fifty-five 
of these are highly improved, and contain 231.28 acres; 47 of them 
are partially improved, containing 110.55 acres; and 229 remain unim- 
proved, containing 71.49 acres. This statement does not include Rock 
Creek Park, lately condemned and converted into the largest park in 
the city, embracing within its limits nearly 2,000 acres, and costing 
nearly one million and a half of dollars. 

Following is a summary of the length in miles and area in square 
yards of the various kinds of pavements at present upon the streets of 
Washington: Of sheet asphalt, 49.7 miles, 1,089,858 square yards; coal 
tar, 38.2 miles, 881,939 square yards; asphalt block, 10.1 miles, 242,736 
square yards; granite blocks, 24.5 miles, 609,687 square yards; cobble 
and blue rock, 10.8 miles, 440,754 square yards; macadam, 10.4 miles, 
293,218 square yards; gravel, 26.2 miles, 530,188 square yards. Total 
length of paved streets, 169,9 miles; total area, 4,088,380 square yards. 
The length of streets unimproved is 65.6, miles, making the total 
length of the streets 235.5 miles. The area of the unimproved streets is 
1,167,672 square yards, making the total area of the streets 5,256,052 
square yards. 

The march of imprqvement in the city, begun in 1871, has been 
ceaselessly onward. Twenty years of constant, unremitting, intelligent 
attention to its progress has worked wonders in the appearance of the 
Capital. Pushing outward along the magnificent avenues, the grand 
plan of L'Enfant is being developed, as the city progresses, in a way 
that astonishes and delights its citizens. Already this progress has 
overleaped the old boundaries, and passing the confines intended by 
our forefathers, is peopling the hills that surround it like an amphi- 
theater. The style of buildings is in keeping with the grandeur of 
the plan; while the beautiful parks, trees, flowers, and shrubs, the 
fountains, statues, and splendid public edifices, all combined, make it 
a city worthy of the name of Washington. 



The Causes of the War of 1812 lo — The Eml)argoes — Tammany Society of Washington 
to President Jefferson — War in Prospect — President Madison Convenes Congress — 
Congress Declares War — Recruiting in AVashington — IJeorganization of the Militia of 
the District — Military Organizations — British Ships in the Potomac — Excitement in 
Washington — General Winder Arrives in Washington — Tlie Battle of St. Leonard's 

— The Battle of Bladensburg — President Madison's Proclamation — Peace through 
the Treaty of Ghent — Tlie War with Mexico — Annexation of Texas by Treaty 
or Joint Resolution — Organization of Troops for the War — Peace with Mexico 

— The War of the Rebellion — Brief Statement of its Causes — The Insurrection 
at Harper's Ferry — Ratification Meetings — Attack on the Republican Headcpiarters 

— Meeting of Southern Senators to Further the Secession of Their States — The 
Peace Convention — Mr. Lincoln's Arrival in Washington — His Inauguration — 
INIilitary Companies — Proclamation Calling for Seventy-tive Thousand Men — First 
Troops to Arrive in Washington — Military Department Created — Militia Officers 
Commissioned — Battalions Organized — Crossing the Potomac — Colonel Ellsworth 
Killed — Fortifications Around the City — First War Dispatch from a Balloon — 
Battle of Bull Run — The Army Bakery — Troops in Defense of Washington — War 
Meeting in the Capitol — Second Battle of Bull Run — Battle of Antietam — Hos- 
pitals in Washington — Proclamation of f^mancipation — Drafts in the District 

— Ladies' Relief Association — General Early Attacks Washington — Surrender of 
Richmond — Lee's Surrender — Assassination of Presi<lent Lincoln — Confiscation of 
Property — The Grand Review — Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia. 


HE War of 1812-15 had its remote origin in the fact that Great 
J[ Britain claimed and exercised the riglit to impress seamen from 
American vessels into her own service, npon the principle that a 
subject of Great Britain could not expatriate himself. For several 
years before the commencement of actual hostilities, in fact as far 
back as the close of the Revolutionary War, the newspapers of the 
United States contained frequent advertisements in the form of lists 
of American citizens serving on board of American vessels, arbitrarily 
seized while engaged in the performance of their duty, and thus 
impressed into the service of that nation, together with appeals to 
their friends for proof that they were citizens of the United States, 
and for the adoption of measures that would lead to the recovery of 
their liberty. Then, too, deserters from the British navy sometimes 
enlisted in the service of the United States, to whom, when discov- 
ered, but little mercy was shown. 



In the spring of 1807, three of the seamen of the British ship 
Mclampas deserted her and enlisted as a portion of the crew of the 
American frigate Chesapeake, then heing titted out at the Nav}' Yard 
at Wasliington to join tiie iMediterranean squa(h*on. Mr. Erskine, 
who was then British minister at Washington, made a formal demand 
upon the President of the United States for their surrender. The 
Government of the United States instituted an investigation into the 
case of these deserters, by means of which it was well established 
that all three of the men were American subjects previouslj^ to their 
enlistment on board the 3Ielampm. Their names were William Ware, 
Jolin Strachan, and Daniel Martin. Martin was a colored man and a 
citizen of Massachusetts; the otlier two being wdiite men and citizens 
of Maryland. These facts being sufficiently authenticated, the Gov- 
ernment of course refused to surrender them, and Mr. Erskine said 
no more upon the subject. 

The failure to secure the surrender of these three men led Vice- 
Admiral Berkeley to an assumption of authority which caused a great 
deal of trouble between the two nations. Vice-Admiral Berkeley was 
on the Halifax Station, and a tleet under his command was at the 
time lying off Lynnhaven Bay, watching a French fleet that was on 
the coast, as well as American commercial movements. About the 
beginning of June, 1807, the Chesapeake sailed from Washington to 
Norfolk, where she reported as ready for sea to Commodore James 
Barron, the flag officer of the Mediterranean squadron, June 22. She 
sailed from Hampton Roads under the immediate command of Captain 
Gordon, armed with twenty-eight eighteen pounders on her gun deck 
and twelve carronades on her upper deck. Her crew numbered three 
hundred and seventy -live men. The British squadron in Lynnhaven 
Bay were watching her, .as well as the French frigates, the Leonard, 
of the British squadron, being particularly on the lookout for the 
Chesapeake. The Leonard, mounting lifty-six guns, preceded the Chesa- 
2')eake to sea several miles, until about three o'clock in the afternoon, 
when she bore down upon the Chesapeake and hailed her, informing 
Commodore Barron that she had a dispatch for him. The lieutenant 
of the British boat which came alongside, wlio was j)olitely received 
by the Commodore in the cabin of the Chesapeake, informed the 
Commodore that he was in search of deserters, and, giving their 
names, demanded their release, in accordance with instructions issued 
June 1, 1807, by Vice-Admiral Berkeley, to all the captains in the 
Britisii squadron. Commodore Barron replied that he knew of no 
deserters on board of his ship, and that his crew could not be mus- 


tered except by their own officers. In the nieaiitinio, the officers of 
the Chesapeake, suspicious of iuteuded mischief, prepared the sliip as 
well as they could for actiou, and upon the retirement of the Britislj 
lieutenant, Commodore Barron, himself fearing hostile action in con- 
sequence of his refusal to surrender the deserters, called his men to 
quarters. Soon afterward a shot was sent from the Leonard across the 
bow of the Chesapeake, and in a few moments another, and tlien a 
whole broadside was fired into the American ship. In several broad- 
sides that followed, three of Commodore Barron's men were killed 
and eighteen wounded. The Chesapeake, being really in a helpless 
condition, could offer no resistance, and was compelled to surrender. 
The three deserters above mentioned, and one other named John 
Wilson, were found on board the Chesapeake, taken on board the 
Leonard, and thence to Halifax, where Wilson, who was a British 
subject, was tried and hanged. Tlie other three were reprieved on 
condition of reentering the British service. One of the three Amer- 
icans died in captivity, and the other two, in June, 1812, were restored 
to the ship from which they had been taken. 

This act of Vice-Admiral Berkeley, when broTight to the atten- 
tion of the British Government, was disavowed by Earl Canning, and 
Berkeley was recalled from his comnumd. The commander of the 
Leonard was discharged from his command, and never again employed 
by his Government. On the other hand, Commodore Barron was 
greatly blamed by the American }»eo})le for his misfortune. The 
national pride was deeply wounded, and it was necessary that it 
should be appeased. He was accused of neglect of duty, was tried 
on this charge by a court martial, found guilty, and suspended for 
five years without pay. Captain Gordon was also- tried on the same 
charge, as well as Captain Hall, but both were only privately repri- 
manded, while the gunner was cashiered for not having sufficient 
priming powder prepared. It is altogether likely, however, that the 
blame rested with the Government more than with the officei's of 
the Chesapeake, though it is not deemed proper to pursue the investi- 
gation of this point in this volume. 

The President, on July 2, issued a proclamation, in which he 
complained bitterly of the habitual insolence of the British cruisers, 
expressed his belief that the outrage on the Chesapeake was unauthor- 
ized, and ordered all British armed vessels to leave the waters of the 
United States immediately. The schooner Meoenge was sent to England 
with instructions to the American ministers, Monroe and Pinckney, 
who demanded reparation for insults and injuries in the case of the 

MILITAR y HJSTOR ) '. 205 

Chesa'peake, and insisted by way of security for the future, that the 
right of visitation of American vessels in search of British subjects 
shoul<l be totally relinquished. The British Government refused to 
treat on any subject except that of reparation. A disavowal of the 
act had already been made, and every disposition shown to be just 
and friendly. But no satisfactory understanding could be arrived at. 

President Jetferson, in his message to Congress, December 18, 
1807, on account of the attempted destruction by France under 
i^apoleon, and by the British Government, of the commerce of the 
United States, by the operation of the Berlin decree of the former 
and the orders of the Council of the latter, suggested by way of 
retaliation the passage of an embargo act. And what is most remark- 
able, the Senate on the same day, after four hours' debate, passed such 
an act by a large majority. Three days later the House passed the 
same act, and on the 22d the President approved it. The object of 
this act was to preserve and develop the resources of the United 
States and to compel France and England to relinquish their hostility 
to the commerce of a neutral nation. But in both directions it was 
a failure, except that to a slight extent it tended to develop American 
manufactures. But how to develop commerce through its destruc- 
tion is a problem that has not yet been solved. It turned out to be 
of assistance to France in her etforts to destroy the commerce of 
England, and the pride of England would not permit her to modify- 
her action with reference thereto, she thinking she could endure the 
inconveniences of the American embargo as long as could the United 
States. In this position England was correct. The United States 
could not prosper without intercourse with the outside world, and 
the evils inflicted on her commerce by her own embargo were far 
greater than those inflicted on that of England or France. After 
considerable unfortunate experience, the policy of decree, orders, and 
embargo were alike abandoned. 

On the occasion of the taking of the Chesapeake, the Tammany 
Society of Washington City sent an address to the "Grand Sachem 
of tlie Seventeen United Tribes of America," Thomas Jefferson, Presi- 
dent of the United States, expressing regret that they had reason to 
believe that the calumet of peace was to be exclianged for the toma- 
hawk of war, the Nation having been insulted and menaced by a 
foreign tribe. They beheld with horror the perfldious attack made 
upon our national canoe, the Chesapeake, on our own shore by the mer- 
cenary warriors of another tribe, beyond the wide waters, professing 
toward us amity and friendship. 


About tlie time of these occurrences news came to Washington 
from all along the nortliern frontier that tiie English were exciting 
the Indians against tlie Americans, and making treaties with them 
to the end that the}' would certainly be on the side of the British 
in case of war. Even as far toward the north and west as Chicago 
it was iirmly believed that war witli Great Britain was inevitable. 
Then, too, to add to the gloom of the prospect, the embargo was 
bitterly denounced in many sections; though of course it was sustained 
by the friends of Mr. Jefferson and man}' others, who, though not 
especially his friends, yet were friends of their conntr}- without refer- 
ence to his administration. The probable effect of the embargo 
was not understood by all, and many had so much confidence in 
Mr. Jefferson's wisdom that through this confidence they sustained 
the embargo, instead of through knowledge of its nature. "In 1794 
an embargo did not produce a war, and we hope in 1807 it will avert 
one. If in this we should be disap[»ointed it will at least yield the 
means of waging it with good effect." 

In April, 1808, the names of seventy seamen claiming to be citi- 
zens of the United States were published by tlie War Department, 
with the request that their friends would supply the department with 
the proof necessary to establish their citizenship, and the promise 
was made that tlien measures would be taken to secure their liberty. 

Thus matters continued until after Mr. Madison was elected 
President, and all througli his first term, — the English persisting in 
their aggressions and the United States Government striving to avoid 
a war. At length, on July 24, 1811, President Madison, desirous of 
serving a second term, and hearing the ground trendjling with dissatis- 
faction at his peaceful policy, convened Congress in extra session, to 
meet November 4, that year. This Congress, in January, 1812, passed 
a measure providing for the addition of 25,000 men to the militar}' 
forces, wliich was the first war measure adopted. On February 21, 
1812, ajtpropriations were made for sustaining this additional force, and 
on the 24th nearly six hundred nominations of officers were sent into 
the Senate by the President, which nominations were confirmed Marcli 
12. During tliis month recruiting for the addition to the military was 
commenced, and b}' the 15th the mails were burdened with notifica- 
tions of appointment to officers in all parts of the countrj'. 

April 4, 1812, another embargo was laid upon all ships and vessels 
in the ports of the United States, for ninety days from the passage of 
tlie act, with certain exceptions. April 13, a meeting was held at 
which was organized a company to manufacture solid shot, the factory 


established being named "Brulf's Pressed Shot Factory." By May 1, 
Thomas Ewell & Company had their gunpowder mills in operation, the 
capacity of which was two thousand pounds per day, both of these 
establishments being in the immediate vicinitv of Washington, 

War was declared by Congress, June 18, 1812. The enlistment of 
troops proceeded somewhat slowl}' until the surrender of Detroit by 
General Hull, August 10, 1812. This surrender filled the country with 
indignation, it being felt as an inglorious stain upon the country's 
honor. Then volunteers in great numbers iiocked to arms, impelled 
by the noblest sentiments of patriotism. This sentiment now was 
well-nigh universal; for while previously there had been a difference of 
opinion as to the necessity or policy of war, yet, when actual hostil- 
ities commenced, and a stigma had been cast upon the American 
name, it became almost universally the opinion that no course but that 
of war was admissible. In Washington, the "Union Light Infantry 
Company" was organized, and commanded by Captain Davidson, and 
the "Washington Troop of Horse," by Captain Elias B. Caldwell. By 
September 29, a full company of one hundred and sixty men was 
ready for the field in Alexandria, having been organized on the 
26th by tlie election of James McGuire captain, Robert Smith lieu- 
tenant, and Charles L. Nevitt ensign. Their services were tendered 
to and accepted by the President. The "First Legion of the District 
of Columbia" was officered as follows: William Smith, lieutenant- 
colonel, commanding; George Peter, adjutant; William Whann, quar- 
termaster; Clement Smith, paymaster; Dr. Frederick May, surgeon, 
John Ott, surgeon's mate; E. Cummings, quartermaster's sergeant; 
John Simpson, fife major. 

February 16, 1813, Adjutant George C. Washington, by order of 
Brigadier-General John P. Van Ness, required the commanding officers 
of the cavalry of the District to be ready to march at the sound of 
the trumpet, and on March 30 Brigadier-General Van Ness issued 
orders to the cavalry to hold themselves in readiness to march at a 
moment's notice. John Tayloe was lieutenant-colonel of cavalry. In 
connection with these orders was published a list of the officers of the 
several companies, together with the dates of their several commissions, 
as follows: 

Columbian Dragoons — Captain, William Thornton, June 6, 1811; 
John Law, first lieutenant, June 6, 1811. 

Georgetown Hussars — Captain, John Peter, June 6, 1811; first lieu- 
tenant, J. S. Williams, June 15, 1811; second lieutenant, William 
S. Pidgely, May 30, 1812. 


Washington Light Horse — Captain, Elias B. Caldwell, May 30, 
1812; first lieutenant, R. C. Weiglitman, May 30, 1812; second lieu- 
tenant, N. L. Queen, May 30, 1812. 

Alexandria Dragoons — Captain, J. H. Mandeville, June 6, 1811; 
tirst lieutenant, William H. Maynadier, June 6, 1811; second lieuten- 
ant, John Dulany, May 8, 1811. 

The regimental statt" was as follows: Adjutant, George C. Wash- 
ington; quartermaster, William Crawfoi'd; paymaster, Daniel Brent; 
surgeon. Dr. G. Clark; sergeant-major, Nicholas Worthington. Benja- 
min H. Latrobe was civil and military engineer at the Navy Yard. 

May 8, 1813, there was a mass meeting of the citizens of Wash- 
ington held to consider the propriety of adopting such measures as 
might further promote the defense of the city. Mayor Daniel Rapine 
was called to the chair, and Joseph Gales, Jr., made secretary. After 
some discussion it was determined to appoint a vigilance committee, 
whose duty it should be to consult with the citizens of the District 
and to communicate with the General Government on l^ehalf of the 
city upon the subject of the probable security or danger of tlie 
city. The committee as appointed consisted of the Mayor and eight 
otlier citizens as follows: Thomas Munroe, John Davidson, Walter 
Jones, Jr., Peter Lenox, Buckner Thruston, Daniel Carroll of Dud- 
dington, Alexander McWilliams, and John Davis of Abel. 

About this time the militia of the District was reorganized, with 
the following ofhcers: 

Major-general, John P. Van Ness; brigadier-generals, Robert Young 
and Walter Smith; adjutant-general, John Cox; assistant adjutant-gen- 
eral, George Peter; brigade-majors, Philip Triplett and John S. Wil- 
liams; colonels, George Magruder, William Brent, and William Allen 
Dangerfield; lieutenant-colonels, James Thom})son, Michael Nourse, and 
Adam Lynn; majors, Lawrence Hoof, Adam King, and Joel Brown. 

Captains of infantry, Charles L. Nevitt, David Whann, Josiah 
M. Speake, liichard Johns, James Cassin, John Hollingshead, Elisha 
VV. Williams, Craven T. l^eyton, George Fitzgerald, and Alexander 
Hunter; captain of riflemen, Horace Field. 

Ca[)tain of artillery, Benjamin Burch, with numerous lieutenants 
and ensigns, as follows: Lieutenants of infantry, Edward Edmonston, 
Abraham Wingart, John Fowler, Ileni'y Beatty, Charles Warren, Wil- 
liam Morton, Thomas L. McKenny, Bernard II. Tomlinson, AnJjrose 
White, Thomas W. Peyton, Levin Moreland, Leonard Adams, Gustavus 
Harrison, Robert Smith, and Alexander L. Joncherez. 

Lieutenant of riHemen, David Mankins; Hrst lieutenant of artillery. 


Alexander McCormick; second lieutenant of artillery, Shadrack Davis; 
lieutenant of grenadiers, John Goddard; ensign of grenadiers, George 
Ripple; ensign of riflemen, Francis llucern; ensigns of infantry, Gus- 
tavus Alexander, Marsliam Jameson, John Mitchell, James B. Ilolmead, 
William "Williams, Francis Lowndes, Robert B. Kirby, and John Gilily. 

May 11, 1813, Assistant Adjutant-General C. K. Gardner issued 
orders to Major-General John P. Van Ness that he should furnish 
from his division of militia the following detachment, to rendezvous 
at Washington on the 20th of the same month, under the law of 
February 28, 1795, and to report to Colonel Carberry, of the Thirty- 
sixth Regiment of United States Infantry: 

Of infantry, 1 major, 4 captains, 4 lieutenants, 4 ensigns, and 400 
rank and file; of artillery, 1 captain, 1 first lieutenant, 1 second lieu- 
tenant, 1 adjutant, 1 quartermaster, 1 surgeon's mate, and 100 rank 
and file. 

The militia of the District had already, on the daj' before, been 
organized as follows, by Major-General Van Kess: 

"The President of the United States having been pleased, under 
the authority vested in him by law, to adopt a new organization for 
the militia of the District of Columbia, better adapted to its present 
circumstances and more agreeable to tlie present army arrangements, 
whereby the militia of the District is formed into a division consisting 
of two brigades, each brigade to consist of two regiments," etc. 

"In reminding the oflicers of the division of the late arrange- 
ments the Major-General thinks proper, in conformity therewith, to 
order that Colonels Magruder and Brent, and the regiments under 
their respective commands, compose the First Brigade, under the 
immediate command of Brigadier-General Smith; and that Colonel 
Dangerfield and Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant Tayloe, with the 
regiments under their respective commands, compose the Second Bri- 
gade, under the immediate command of Brigadier-General Young, 

"Majors Robert Y. Brent and William S. Radclifi" are selected as 
Major-General's aids-de-camp," 

Brigade orders were issued, May 13, by Brigadier-General Walter 
Smith, to the eflt'ect that the militia of the District of Columbia, witli 
the exception of the cavalry, should be formed into two distinct 
regiments, and constitute the First Columbian Brigade; the First 
Regiment to be commanded by Colonel George Magruder, assisted by 
Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson, and to consist of the following compa- 
nies: Captains Ross's and Briscoe's infantry, and the infixntry previously 
commanded by Captains Nourse, Keely, and Brown, who had been 


promoted; Captains Davidson's and Hutli's liglit infantry, Captain Stall's 
riflemen, and Captain Edmonston's g-renadiers. Tiie Second Regiment 
was to be commanded by Colonel William Brent, and to consist of 
Captains Morse's, McKee's, Parry's, B. King's, Bestor's, Blake's, Var- 
luim's, and Hughes's infantry, Burcb's artillery, and Cassin's, Lenox's, 
and Young's light infantry. 

The "senior volunteers," who had enrolled tliemselves in the 
summer of 1812, were requested to meet May 20, in order to be 
reorganized into a company, and the citizens of the Third Ward who 
were above the age of forty-tive were also requested to meet May 22 
for the same purpose. Accompanying these requests, the hope went 
forth that no one was so old as to have no patriotism in his bosom. 
According to the National Intelligencer^ there was a good deal of a 
military spirit manifest among the people at that time. There had 
then recently been formed several companies, as has been narrated in 
our late paragraphs, and particular mention was made of the artiller^^ 
company under Captain Burch. Four hundred of the militia of the 
District, drafted in accordance with a requisition of the War Depart- 
ment, and under the command of Major King, had been placed in 
the command of Colonel Carberry, of the regular army, and were then 
encamped on the hill above Way's Glass Works, between Georgetown 
and the Potomac liiver. The Government was roused to the necessity 
of guarding against any possible danger, and it was believed that the 
steps taken were sutiicient to defend the city against any invading 
force the enemy could bring against it. 

On May 20, the corporation of tlie city of Washington made an 
appropriation of $5,000 to aid in the execution of such measures as 
the President might adopt for the safety and defense of the city. This 
sum of money was expended under the direction of Mayor Rapine, and 
John Davidson, Peter Lenox, Elias B. Caldwell, and Joseph Cassin. 

May 29, 1813, a dinner was given at Davis's hotel in honor of the 
recent naval victories of the United States, whicli dinner was attended 
by a large number of citizens, without regard to party afliliations, 
from Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria. Of this occasion it 
was said that it was the most numerous and respectable, and at the 
same time the most brilliant, assend^lage of citizens that had ever been 
convened in the District. Among those present were the Vice-Presi- 
dent of the United States, George Clinton; the Speaker of the House 
of Representatives, Henry Clay; and many members of Congress. 
General Robert Bowie, Governor of Maryland, acted as president of 
the day. Among the toasts drank were the following: 


"The American People. Self-collected in prosperity, undaunted in 

"The Genuine Republican. lie that is ever ready to defend his 
country against her enemies." 

"The Mission to Russia. As it is pledged to pacific intentions, 
so may it prove the precursor of an honorable peace." 

"The Flag of Decatur. To the lightning of heaven it bows, to 
British thunder, never." 

On Thursday, July 15, 1813, great excitement was produced in 
Washington by the report that the enemy's ships were approaching 
the city, his force in the Potomac consisting of fourteen sail. One- 
half of the regulars, drafted militia, and volunteers encamped at War- 
burton Heights, Thursday night, and the remainder within a few miles 
of them. The fort itself was in good order and well garrisoned, and 
the frigate Adams lay within a short distance. The Secretary of the 
ISTavy went down to Warburton on the same day that the report gained 
circulation, and arranged for the erection of a battery on the water's 
edge, which mounted nine heavy cannon. The Mayor of the city 
issued an order on the 15th requesting every man, whether or not 
subject to military duty, to enroll himself in some volunteer company 
for the defense of the city in case of an attack by the enemy. A 
meeting of the citizens was held in the afternoon of the same day in 
Capitol Square, at which it was resolved that the citizens who had 
not enrolled themselves should do so, and that a city commandant be 
appointed by a majority of the company oflicers, and that the Mayor 
be that ofHcer. Regular patrols w^ere organized among the citizens, 
which patrolled the city at night. 

A strong detachment of United States artillery occupied Fort 
Warburton in Washington, and the ridge upon which the fort stood 
was held by a battalion of the Tenth and a company of the Twentieth 
United States Infantry, a battalion of drafted men, and a detachment 
from Captain Burch's men, all under the command of Colonel JSficholl, 
of the First Regiment of United States Artillery. On the road leading 
from Piscataway to Port Tobacco were the dragoons, supported by 
Captain Davidson's infantry, Captain Stull's riflemen, the Georgetown 
Grenadiers, and several companies of infantry. Near where the War- 
burton and Washington City roads meet, was the Thirty-sixth Regi- 
ment, under Colonel Carberry, with the remainder of Colonel Burch's 
artillery. This arrangement, besides guarding against the enemy's 
approach, admitted of a ready concentration of the American troops. 
At that time an invasion of the city seemed imminent. The various 


militia companies were mulcr arms every morning at live o'clock, and 
tiirough the day they were drilled and exercised, and fitted for the 
duties of the field. At Greenleafs Point works were commenced upon 
which to erect a battery of heavy cannon, and furnaces were con- 
structed with which to su})ply tlie cannon with red hot bolts. Below 
the Navy Yard, also, a similar fort was constructed. On Tuesday 
morning, July 22, 1813, the enemy's ships descended the river, and 
were then not in sight at Point Yates, about seventy miles away. A 
troop of cavalry under Captain Osburn, and two companies of infantry 
under Captains Lastly and Means, all from Loudon County, Virginia, 
arrived in Alexandria on Monday and Tuesday, July 19 and 20. 

The British squadron was under the command of Admiral Warren. 
He having apparently abandoned his designs against Washington, an 
order was issued on Sunday, July 25, for the discharge of the volun- 
teers, and they returned to their families and friends on the 26th, the 
regular troops and drafted militia remaining near Fort Warburton. 

Matters were then quiet for several months. General Winder, who 
had been a prisoner of war in Canada, and who had been released on 
parole, arrived in Washington April 29, 1814. On July 17, 1814, quite 
alarming news was again received in Washington, that the enemy was 
at Patuxent, that he had burned the villages of Benedict and Lower 
Marlborough, and was in sight of JSTottingham. Orders were imme- 
diately issued from the War Department to put on the march by 
10:00 A. M., Saturday, June 18, detachments from the cavalry, artillery, 
and riflemen of this county to the number of about two hundred and 
fifty men. Contradictory advices being received in the afternoon of 
the same day, the above mentioned orders were countermanded. On 
Sunday, June 19, news was again received that the enemy was reen- 
tering the Patuxent and had arrived opposite Benedict. Assistance 
was asked by the citizens of Nottingham, and the Secretary of War 
caused the necessary orders to be distributed by General Van Ness. 
By 10:00 A. xM., the Georgetown Artillery and Riflemen, the Georgetown 
Dragoons, Captain Thornton's troop, of Alexandria, and Captain Cald- 
well's, of Washington, w^ere ready to march, and all departed for 
the Patuxent under command of Major George Peter. 

The Irdelligencer said: "We learn that the enemy have pursued 
the same system of barbarous warfare that was commenced last summer 
under the notorious Cockburn. They have burned many dwellings and 
plundered many families on the shores of the Patuxent." 

A new volunteer corps was organized about this time, known as 
the "Legion of Mounted Infantry," and composed of the elite of the 


entire District. The conipaiiies iibove mentioned reached Nottino-hani 
on Monday, June 20, and wore immediately ordered to Benedict, where 
Colonel Wadsworth was in command of the troops previously collected. 
These troops included those under Major Peter, an artillery force with 
eight eighteen-pound cannon, and a battalion of the Thirty-eighth 
liegiment of United States Infantry from Baltimore. In connection 
with the notice of these movements of the soldiers, the Intelligencer 
said: "It is superfluous to notice the contemptible asseverations of 
facetious editors who rail at the National Government, without look- 
ing into the conduct of those whose willful neglect of duty has brought 
incalculable mischief upon a large portion of the citizens of Maryland." 

On Tuesday, June 21, 1814, a slight battle was fought between 
the belligerent forces, in which one American named Francis Wise 
was killed. He was shot by a British soldier, "who most bravely 
fought until he was killed by repeated wounds, and who proved to 
be a sergeant of marines of proverbial courage and strength, and 
before he was disabled wounded another of the troops with his 
bayonet, and very nearly overpowered General Stewart, of the militia, 
who engaged him after Wise was killed." The British soldiers were, 
however, driven on board their ships, and the Americans withdrew out 
of reach of their guns. Six of the British were taken prisoners and 
brought to Washington on the 24th, and committed to the custody 
of the marshal. June 26, firing from the British vessels was kept 
up in St. Leonard's Creek all day, and fears were entertained for 
Commodore Barney, the British having been reenforced; but Barney 
extricated himself from his useless position in St. Leonard's Creek 
and went to Benedict on the Patuxent. Commodore Barney brought 
on this engagement, and in two hours the enemy "got under way 
and made sail down the river. They are now (10:00 a. m.) warping 
round Point Patience, and I am sailing up the Patuxent with my 
vessels. My loss is Acting Midshipman Asquith, killed, and ten others 
killed or wounded." • 

In consequence of the retreat of the enemy down the Patuxent, 
the volunteers from Washington set out on their return on Wednes- 
day, June 29, the cavalry arriving on the 30th, and the artillery and 
rifle companies on July 1. Commodore Barney arrived in the city 
on Thursday, June 30, his flotilla having moved up the river as far 
as Lower Marlborough. 

The battle of St. Leonard's, at the mouth of St. Leonard's Creek, 

^ Commodore Barney's Report, 


June 26, 1814, was the occasion of a great deal of controversy among 
the officers of tlic American forces. Colonel Wadsworth, in his report 
to the Secretary of War, reflected rather severely on the conduct of 
Captain Miller, who commanded a portion of the artillery during the 
day, and Captain Miller even more severel}' animadverted upon 
the conduct of Colonel Wadsworth and his command. After moving 
from his position on the hill down to the lower ground, in which 
[)Osition he was disappointed, "finding that the barges which were 
firing round shot were not only out of siglit of this position, but com- 
pletely out of range of any grape or canister that could be thrown 
from my batteries," he therefore sought still another position, but 
before he had reached one-half way to the spot he "discovered the 
infantry retiring in good order along the low ground," and therefore 
from this unfortunate movement of the infantry, himself "became one 
of the nund^er moving from the field," which he had held for 
upward of two hours in constant firing upon the enemy's frigates, 
employing his best exertions to annoy them, etc. He gave great 
credit to Commodore Barney's flotilla, and the detachment from the 
flotilla under Captain Cohagen. 

July 14, 1814, the President of the United States made a requisition 
u}»on the governors of the several States for militia from those States, 
to be organized into regiments and held in readiness for immediate 
action, to the number of ninety-three thousand and five hundred men. 
He apportioned to Pennsylvania fourteen regiments, to Delaware one 
regiment, to Maryland six regiments, and to Virginia thirteen regiments. 

July 17, the enemy had a force of soldiers at Leonardtown, in 
St. Mary's County, Maryland, about sixty-five miles from Washington. 
The volunteers from this city and vicinity were then encamped near 
the wood yard, about fifteen miles from Washington, from which 
position they could in two hours reach either the Patuxent or the 
Potomac. A battalion of volunteers, which had been enrolled for 
the defense of Washington, was discharged July 23, 1814. They 
were reviewed that da}- by General Winder, and by him highly com- 
plimented on their soldierlike appearance. August 1, 1814, there was 
a general review of the military of the District by General Winder, 
of the Army of the United States, and commander of the military 
department in which tlie District of Columl)ia was comprised. The 
First Brigade, under Brigadier-General Young, was reviewed at Alex- 
andria at 10:00 A. M., and the Second Brigade, which was under the 
command of Brigadier-General Smith, was reviewed in front of the 
]?i'csident's Square, in Washington, at 2:00 p. m. 

MI LIT A R } ' HIS TOR Y. 21 5 

A volunteer cori)s of between sixty sind seventy dragoons from 
Frederick and Washington counties, Virginia, passed tlirough Wash- 
ington, August 12, for the rendezvous at Bladensburg. A detachment 
of about three hundred men, under Colonel Gettings, from Mont- 
gomery County, Maryland, also reached Bladensburg about the same 

August 9, the entire British Heet in the Potomac lay just below 
the moutli of the St. Mary's River — one 74-gun ship, the Albion; 
one razee, three frigates, two ships, two brigs, several sloops of 
war, one large schooner, and twelve smaller ones. The force in the 
Patuxent consisted of two ships and one brig, the ships being 
the Severn and Prince William. By the 19th of August, the British 
Heet was strengthened so as to consist of forty-six sail at or near 
Point Lookout, and besides there were five frigates off St. George's 
Island. On Thursday, August 18, the enemy's forces entered the 
Patuxent, and indicated an intention of ascending the river. Upon 
the receipt of this intelligence in the city. General Winder made 
requisition upon the governors of Maryland and Pennsylvania and 
upon various militia officers; and the militia of the District of Col- 
umbia was ordered out en masse. Colonel Monroe, with Captain 
Thornton's troop of horse, made a reconnoissance of the position of 
the enemy on Friday the 19th, and the militia of Washington and 
Georgetown were mustered on the same day. On the 20th, about 
1:00 p. M., these, together with some other forces, commenced marching 
toward Benedict, and encamped for the night on the road to Upper 
Marlborough, about four miles from the Eastern Branch bridge. The 
British arrived at Benedict in force on the same day, with twenty-seven 
square-rigged vessels and other craft. Colonel Tiglhman and Captain 
Caldwell were ordered, \vith their cavalry, to remove and destroy 
forage and provisions in front of the enemy, and to impede his march 
as much as possible. Those who reconnoitered the povsition of the 
enemy estimated the strength of his forces at from four thousand to 
six thousand men, and he soon advanced upon Nottingham. Early 
on Monday, the 22d, a detachment of the Thirty-sixth and Thirty- 
eighth Regiments, and three companies from the brigade of General 
Smith, under the command of Major Peter, marched on the road to 
Nottingham, and the remainder of the army took up an elevated 
position. Commodore Joshua Barney had joined the army with the 
flotilla men, besides the marines under Captain Miller. The cavalry 
which met the British in their march retired before them, and this 
led the advanced corps to attempt to impede the march of the enemy, 


who took the road to Upper Marlborough, after coming within a few 
miles of General Winder's army, which was drawn up in line of 
battle to receive him. General Winder then fell back with his entire 
force to the Battalion Old Fields, about eight miles from Marlbor- 
ough, and about the same distance from Washington. The British 
army arrived at Upper Marlborough about two o'clock, and remained 
there until next day, waiting for the return of the detachment sent 
against the flotilla under Commodore Barney, which was destroyed 
by the Commodore under orders from the Secretary of War. Late 
on the 22d, President Madison, together with the Secretaries of War 
and the Navy, and the Attorney-General, joined General Winder at 
Battalion Old Fields, and remained with him until the evening of the 
next day. On the morning of the 23d, the troops were reviewed by 
the President. At that time it was not known, and it could not be 
ascertained, what the purpose of the enemy was, whether it was to 
march upon Annapolis, upon Fort Washington, or upon the city of 
Washington. His forces were variously estimated, but it was generally 
believed that he had from five thousand to seven thousand men. Gen- 
eral Winder's force was about three thousand, with Ave pieces of 
heavy artillery, two eighteen-pounders, and three twelve-pounders, 
and other smaller pieces, enough to bring the aggregate number of 
pieces of artiller}' up to seventeen. General Winder, induced to 
believe that the enemy intended to remain stationary through the 
day, ordered the troops under General Stansbury at Bladensburg, and 
one other corps, to move to Upper Marlborough, himself going to 
meet them, and leaving orders that the enemy should be annoyed in 
every possible way, either in his march or in his position; and that 
if he moved upon Bladensburg, General Smith should fall upon his 
flank, or be governed by circumstances as to his movements. 

However, the enemy left Upper Marlborough and had a skirmish 
with Captain Stull's company, which was compelled to retreat after 
firing four or five rounds. The entire army was thereupon placed in a 
position favorable for defense, but upon General Winder's return, late 
in the afternoon, he decided to march upon the city of Washington. 
The object of this retreat was, as stated by General Winder, to unite 
his entire force, fearing a night attack by a superior enemy upon 
his undisciplined troops, as in a night attack his superiority in 
artillery would be of no avail. The march of the army to Wash- 
ington was extremely rapid and precipitate, and the men were greatly 
exhausted before the camping ground was reached. 

This precipitate march, or rather retreat, was of course after the 


battle of Bladensburg luid been fougbt. It is difficult to give a 
correct account of tbat battle, because it was not very creditable to 
tlie American arms, and it was perfectly natural for all concerned in 
it to desire, after it was over, to prevent tbc precise facts from coming 
to ligbt, especially wbere tbose facts reflected adversely upon tbeir 
conduct. But tlie following account is as nearly accurate as tbe cir- 
cumstances will permit. General Stansbury arrived at Bladensburg on 
tbe 22d of tbe montb, and tbe Fiftb Baltimore Regiment, togetber witli 
tbe rifle corps and artillery, in tbe evening of tbe 23d. At twelve 
o'clock tbat nigbt Colonel Monroe advised General Stansbury to fall 
upon tbe rear of tbe enemy fortbwitb, as it was understood tbat be 
was in motion for tbe city of Wasbington. General Stansbury, baving 
been ordered to post bimself at Bladensburg, did not consider liimself 
at liberty to leave tbe place, and besides tbe fatigue of tbe troops 
under Colonel Sterret rendered it impracticable. 

On tbe morning of tbe 24tb, General Winder's beadquarters were 
near tbe Eastern Brancb bridge, arrangements for tbe destruction of 
wbicb bad been made. Detacbments of borse were out in several 
directions as videttes and reconnoitering parties. Colonel George 
Minor arrived in Wasbington on tbe 22d, witb bis regiment of Vir- 
ginia militia — six bundred infantry and one bundred cavalry, and 
reported to tbe President and Secretary of War for orders and United 
States arms. Next morning, after several delays in counting out tbe 
arms, it became rumored around tbat tbe enem}' was marcbing upon 
tbe city by way of Bladensburg, and Colonel Monroe left tbe city 
witb tbe view of joining General Stansbury, to aid bim in forming a 
line of battle to meet tbe enemy. General Stansbury tben occupied 
tbe ground west of Bladensburg, on tbe banks of tbe Eastern Brancb. 
Here tbe front line of battle was formed. Over tbe Eastern Brancb 
tbere was a bridge, from wbicb a turnpike led to Wasbington. After 
tbe various forces at tbis point bad been stationed. Colonels Beall 
and Hood, witb tbe Maryland militia from Annapolis under Colonel 
Beall, crossed tbe bridge and took up a position on tbe rigbt of 
tbe turnpike and upon tbe most commanding beigbt, about three 
bundred yards to tbe rigbt of tbe road, for tbe purpose of securing 
tbe rigbt flank. About eleven o'clock in tbe morning, intelligence 
was received tbat tbe enemy was in full marcb toward Bladensburg. 
General Winder tbereupon put bis entire command in motion, witb 
tbe exception of a few men and a piece of artillery at tbe Eastern 
Brancb bridge, to destroy it. Upon tbe arrival of General Winder 
at Bladensburg in advance of bis troops, be approved of tbe disposi- 


tioii made by General Stansbury and Colonel Miinroe; but even if 
he had not been able to do this, it would have been impracticable to 
make any change, as the enemy at that moment, 12:00 m., appeared 
on the opposite heights of Bladensburg, about a mile distant. General 
Winder's troops were arranged in line of battle as they arrived. The 
President, the Secretary of War, and the Attorney-General were all 
upon the ground. As the enemy advanced into Bladensburg, the 
second line of General Winder's troops was being formed. Commo- 
dore Barney's command came in at this time on the double-quick, and 
were formed in line on the right of the main road. The heavy artillery 
was placed in line under Captain Miller. Lieutenant-Colonel Kramer, 
with a battalion of Maryland militia, was posted in a wood in advance 
of Colonel Beall and Colonel Hood, and the other troops were properly 
arranged. About half past twelve, while the second line was yet 
forming, the enemy approached, and the battle commenced. The Bal- 
timore artillery opened tire upon the enemy's light troops advancing 
along the streets of the village, dispersing them, and they protected 
tiiemselves behind houses and trees as well as they could; but other 
portions of their troops began throwing rockets, and his light troops 
began to advance, concentrating near the bridge and pressing across 
it, and also crossing above, where the river was fordable. The enemy's 
column was thrown into some confusion while approaching the bridge, 
but having gained it they rapidly crossed, and forming into line 
moved steadily on, compelling General Winder's artillery and riHemen 
to give way. Soon afterward the rockets from the enemy's force 
assumed a more horizontal direction, and passing too near the heads 
of Colonel Shutz's and Colonel Kagan's regiments, the right gave 
way, and this, falling back, was followed in a few moments by a 
creneral ilis-ht of the two roo;iments, in detiance of all the ettbrts and 
exertions of General Winder and General Stansbury and the other 
officers. Burch's artillery and the Fifth Regiment remained with firm- 
ness; but notwithstanding that the enemy's light troops were driven 
back by the firmness of these two regiments, at length, the enemy 
having gained the right flank of the Fifth, which exposed it, Burch's 
artillery and Colonel Sterret, in command of the Fifth, were ordered 
by General Winder to retreat, with a view of forming at a short 
distance to the rear; but instead of retiring m order, the Fifth, like 
the other two regiments, in a very few minutes was retreating in 
disorder and confusion. Attempts were then made to rally the 
troops, which were temporarily successful. They ultimately failed, 
however, and the troops were badly routed. They retreated on the 


road, which forked in tliree directions — one leading by Rock Creek 
to Tenley Town and Montgomery Courtlionsc, one leading to George- 
town, and the tiiird to Washington. 

After the retreat of the troops under Lieutenant-Colonel Kramer 
from his tirst position, the column of the enemy was exposed to a gall- 
ing lir© from Major Peter's artillery, which continued until they came 
in contact with Commodore Barney, and it was here that the enemy 
met with the greatest resistance and sustained the greatest loss. An 
eighteen-pounder was opened upon him by Commodore Barney, and 
this completely cleared the road for the time being, and several 
attempts were made to rall3\ lie thereupon made a Hank movement 
to the right, when Captain Miller opened u^ion him with three twelv^e- 
pounders with considerable effect; but they kept on witli the iiank 
movement and at length gained the rear of the right of the second 
line, and a retreat was ordered by Commodore Barney. After some 
further maneuvering and fighting, the troops, some of whom had 
remained firm in their positions, were ordered by General Winder 
to retreat, and after again forming were again ordered to retreat bj' 
the commanding general. And when General Smith's command came 
into the Held and were in the act of forming in line, they were also 
ordered to retreat to Washington, expecting there to be united with 
the troops of the first line. Colonel Monroe covered the retreat. 
At the Capitol the troops were again halted while General Winder 
was in consultation with Colonel Monroe and General Armstrons:. 

However, the first line, which had been the first to break and 
retreat from Bladensburg, with the exception of Colonel Laval's, had 
most of them taken the road which led north of the District of 
Columbia, and others had dispersed and gone to their homes. Taking 
all these things into consideration tlie commanding general believed 
it would be impossible to defend the city against the invading forces 
of the enemy; nor did he think it would be proper to attempt to 
defend the Capitol building, as that would leave every other part of 
the city to the mercy of the enemy. On receiving the order to rail}' 
on the heights of Georgetown and abandon Washington to its fate, 
the troops, according to General Smith, evinced an anguish beyond the 
power of language to express. They were held at Tenley Town, and 
an attempt to collect them together was only partially successful. Some 
returned home, some went in pursuit of refreshments, and others gave 
themselves up to the feelings which fatigue, privation, and chagrin 
naturally produce. The forces collected were marched about five miles 
from the Potomac, and early in tlie morning of the 25th ordered to 


assemble at Montgomery Courthouse. This position seems to have 
been taken by General Winder with the view of interposing to 
protect Baltimore in case that city should prove to be in danger. On 
the 23d, General Winder had sent orders to the commanding officer at 
Fort Washington to place patrols in every road leading to the garri- 
son, and in the event of his being taken in the rear to blow up the 
fort and retire across the river. 

From Benedict to Washington via Bladensburg is about fifty miles. 
The battle of Bladensburg ended at 4:00 p. m., and the British forces 
reached Washington about eight o'clock in the evening. The British 
army was under the joint command of General Ross and Admiral 
Cockburn. As the former was riding toward the Capitol, his horse 
was shot under him by some one firing from a house in the vicinit}', 
the design being apparently to kill the General. This so enraged the 
troops that, after setting tire to the house containing the sharpshooter, 
they marched quickly to the Capitol, and fired several volleys into its 
windows; then maching inside the building, they collected all kinds 
of combustible materials, piled tlie books and papers in the Congres- 
sional Library on the floors, and set the whole mass on fire. When 
the clouds of smoke issued from the roofs of the wings of the build- 
ing, it seemed doomed to destruction, and doubtless more damage 
would have been done to it than was done, had it not been for the 
fact that in about half an hour after the fire was kindled a heavy 
shower set in and continued all the rest of the evening, and was the 
means of saving the walls, at least. While the fire was raging in the 
Capitol building, the British soldiers marched up Pennsylvania Avenue 
to set on fire the other public buildings. They did set on fire the 
Treasury, iState, War, and Navy departments, and tlie President's 
House, destroying Mr. Sewall's house on Capitol Hill, a hotel belong- 
ing to Mr. Carroll, General Washington's house, and Mr. Frost's 
house. The public property destroyed was valued as follows: The 
Capitol building to its foundation was worth |787, 163.28; the Presi- 
dent's House, $334,334; the other public buildings, $93,013.82; total 
value, $1,215,111.10. 

It may be proper to add to this detail a statement of the forces 
euiraii-ed on either side in the eno-ao-ement at Bladensburg. The 
strength of the several corps on the part of General Winder's army 
was as follows: Dragoons of the United States, 140; Maryland militia, 
260; dragoons of the District of Columbia, 40; dragoons of Virginia, 
100; total dragoons, 540. The Thirty-sixth Regiment of Infantry, one 
battalion of the Thirty-eighth, and one company of the Twelfth, 500; 


seamen and marines, 600; total, 1,100. Militia — Stansbury's brigade, 
1,353; part of Strieker's, 956; Smith's brigade and Kramer's battalion, 
1,800; Young's brigade, 450; Beall's regiment, 800; Minor's regiment, 
600; sundry detachments of volunteers and militia, 450; total militia, 
6,409. Total number, 8,049. There were in the battle twenty pieces 
of artillery of ditferent caliber. The losses amounted to 10 killed and 
30 wounded; total, 40. 

The British forces numbered as follows: On Capitol Hill, 700; on 
Turnpike Hill, 2,000; wounded at Bladensburg, 300; attendants, 300; 
wounded and attendants at Washington, 60; killed at Bladensburg 
and Washington, 180; total, 3,540. The entire number in the British 
army was probably about 4,500. 

On the evening of the 25th, after being in possession of the Capi- 
tal of the Nation twenty-four hours, the British made the greatest 
exertions to leave the city. They had about forty horses, ten or 
twelve carts and wagons, and several gigs, which they sent to Bla- 
densburg to move oif the wounded; and these were preceded by a 
drove of sixty or seventy cattle. Arriving at Bladensburg, the surgeon 
was ordered to collect the wounded who could walk, and the forty 
horses were utilized to carry the wounded who could not walk, the 
carts and wagons being also used to carry the dead. About ninety of 
the wounded were left behind. At about midnight the British army 
passed through Bladensburg; parties continued to follow until morn- 
ing, and stragglers until midday. The retreat was made in great 
haste, as if the enemy were conscious of the presence of the American 
army at Montgomery Courthouse, and were in dread of an attack by 
General Winder's forces. 

The capture of the city of Washington by the British forces 
severely wounded the pride not only of the people of the District of 
Columbia, but also of the entire country. That the city should have 
been permitted to be captured, has ever since been looked upon as a 
disgrace to the country and a shame to those who were entrusted 
with its defense. Some writers, in their impartiality, have attempted 
to distribute the blame all round among the various officers of 
the Government, from President Madison down to the immediate 
commanding general; while others have sought to limit it to the com- 
manding general. Those who have included the President in the 
list, do so mainly upon the ground that it was he who was respon- 
sible for the selection of such an incompetent general; but it is 
probable that one of the reasons for the ability of the British to 
march upon and capture the city with but little or no opposition, was 


this; that most of the troops upon which General Winder had to 
depend, were raw militia. Had they been disciplined veterans, as 
were the British soldiers, or had they possessed conlidence in them- 
selves and in their o-eneral, the sting- and stigma of the disgrace of 
the capture would not have been experienced. At any rate the 
prowess and valor of American soldiers have since been most amply 
vindicated, on battletields in Mexico, and on both sides in the war 
of the late Rebellion; so that so far as that particular feature of the 
ease is concerned, there no longer remains any opportunity for criti- 
cism upon American soldiers, nor does there remain any reason to 
doubt the ability of tlie United States to produce competent com- 
manding generals. 

In reviewing the events preceding the battle of Bladensburg, and 
the battle itself, it may, in the tirst place, be well to introduce the 
testimony of General Winder himself, wnth reference to the conduct 
of the militia from the District of Columbia. In a letter published 
October 8, 1814, he said: "I have no knowledge of any instance of 
the conduct of the militia (from Washington and Georgetown) while 
under my command wdiich is not honorable to their zeal, spirit, and 
subordination, and tliat they yielded a prompt and soldierly obedience 
to all my orders. My situation on the Held, in the battle of Bladens- 
burg, with the front line, and subsequent etibrts to form them on the 
left of the Georgetown and other militias, prevented me from witness- 
ing their conduct in the engagement. When I sent them orders to 
retreat, the enemy were turning both their right and left iianks. From 
the total tiight of the front line and the troops posted on the right, 
and wiien I came up to them shortly after their retreat commenced, I 
found them retiring in order, and consequently inferred that they had 
not left their position before receiving my orders to retire. They were 
l)repared and showed the utmost readiness to form again between the 
Capitol and the turnpike gate to renew the contest, until I found 
the total dispersion of the first line rendered it impossible to make 
another stand with a number sufHciently great to alibrd any hope of 
success. And they did, on my order, proceed through the city to 
Georgetown and form on the heights of Tenley Town.'" 

Then, too, the story of the battle is perhaps best told in General 
Winder's own language: 

"Our advanced riflemen, Pinkney's corps, now began to tire, and 
continued it for half a dozen rounds, when I observed them to run 
back to an orchard. They halted there, and seemed for a moment 
about returning to their original position, but in a few moments 


entirely broke, tind retired to the left of Staiisljury's line. The advance 
artillery immediately followed the ritiemen, and retired on the left of 
the Fifth Baltimore Regiment, which had been pushed forward to 
sustain them. 

"The lirst three or four rockets fired by the eneni}' being much 
above the heads of Stansbury's men, they stood them very man- 
fully, but the rockets having taken a more horizontal direction, a 
universal flight of the center and left of Stansbury's brigade was the 
consequence. The Fifth Regiment and the artillery still remained, and 
I hoped would prevent the enemy's approach, but the enemy ap- 
proached singly, and their fire annoyed the Fifth considerably, when 
I ordered it to retire, for the purpose of putting it out of reach of 
the enemy; This order was, however, immediately countermanded, 
from an aversion to retire before the enemy became stronger, and from 
a hope that the enemy would issue in a body and enable us to act 
upon him on terms of more equality. 

"But his fire beginning to disturb this corps, and the Fifth Regi- 
ment still more by wounding some of them, and a strong column 
passing up the road and deploying on its left, I ordered them to 
retire. Their retreat became a flight of absolute and total disorder. 
Beall's regiment was posted on a height to the right of the road, which 
commanded the whole ground occupied by Stansbury's brigade. It 
gave one or two ineffectual fires and fied.'' This retreat completes the 
account of the fortunes and fate of the front line, which could not be 
rallied, and which displayed all its activity in making its way home. 

This, it will be seen, agrees with General Winder's letter given 
above with respect to the conduct of the militia from the District of 
Columbia, and hence it seems permissible to place the most of the 
blame for the defeat at Bladensburg on the front line. The second line 
was composed of Smith's militia brigade, the Thirty-sixth Regular 
Regiment, one battalion of the Thirty-eighth Regiment, a detachment 
of the Twelfth Regiment, and Commodore Barney's corps of seamen 
and marines and the whole of the cavalry. General Winder did not 
have this line under his immediate observation. It appears that Commo- 
dore Barney, in the pressure upon the front line, was entirely forgotten 
at the Eastern Branch bridge, and would have remained there, much 
against his inclination, had he not accidentally met the President and 
Secretary of War, who advised him to hasten his march to Bladensburg 
and join the army. The Commodore in his report said: "We came 
up in a trot and took our position on the rising ground between 
Smith's militia and Beall's, posted our marines and seamen, and waited 


the a[)proacli of tlie enemy. Daring tliis period, the engagement con- 
tinued, the enemy advanced, and our army retreating apparent!}- in 
mneli disorder. At length the enemy made his a[)pearance before us 
and halted. After a few minutes I ordered an eighteen-pounder to 
tire upon him, which com[)letely cleared .the road. A second and third 
attempt were made to come forward, but all were destroyed. The}- 
tlien crossed over into an open iield and attempted to Hank us. There 
he was met by three twelve-pounders, the marines and seamen acting 
as infantry, and was again badly cut up. By this time not a vestige 
of the American army remained, except a body of five or six hundred 
on a height on my right, and from which I expected great support. 
The enemy now puslied up their sharpshooters and began to outflank 
us on the right. Our guns were that way when we pushed up the 
hill tow-ard the American corps, stationed as above described, which, 
to my great mortification, made no resistance, giving a lire or two 
and retiring. Finding the enemy now in my rear, and no means of 
defense, I ordered my officers and men to retire." 

General Smith said: "The dispersion of the front line caused a 
dangerous opening on our left, of which the enemy was availing 
himself, when I ordered Colonel Brent, with the Second Regiment, to 
take a position still more to our left, and he was })reparing to execute 
this order when orders came from General Winder for the whole of 
the troops to retreat." 

Uj)on receipt of orders of this kind from the commanding gen- 
eral, of course fighting was out of the question. The orders that 
followed were but little else than a repetition of orders to form and 
counter orders to retreat. When what was left of the army reached 
Washington, the Secretary of War suggested the occupation of the 
Capitol building, believing that the Thirty-sixth and Thirty-eighth 
regiments, together with those portions of Commodore Barney's corps 
that could be collected, would be sufficient to sustain their position 
therein, provided General Winder could assure them of such exterior 
support as would be necessary to sup[)ly them with food, water, and 
ammunition. The General replied that he could not give the assurance, 
and that he proposed to retire behind the heights at Georgetown. 
The Secretary of War then assented to the measure which appeared 
to have been previously discussed and determined u[)on by the com- 
manding general and the Secretary of State, and perceiving that no 
order was given to apprise the Navy Department of the determination 
to cross Rock Creek and to prevent the capture of the Navy Yard, he 
dispatched Major Bell to announce the retreat of the army. The 


guri-ison iit Fort Wasliiiig-ton was not more fortuiuite than their fellow- 
soldiers. The fort was destroyed and abandoned, though pressed by 
no enemy on either side. 

It may not be improper to introdnee testimony from the British 
side as to some of the features of this battle. An officer of the 
Eighty-fifth Royal Regiment, named Gleig, stated the facts in the fol- 
lowing language: "This battle, by which the fate of the American 
Capital was decided, began about one o'clock in the afternoon, and 
lasted till about four o'clock. The loss on the part of the English 
was severe, since, out of two-thirds of the army which was engaged, 
upward of five hundred men were killed and wounded, and what 
rendered it doubly severe was that among these were numbered several 
officers of rank and distinction. Colonel Thornton, who commanded 
the Light Brigade, Lieutenant-Colonel Wood, commanding the Eighty- 
fifth Regiment, and Major Brown, who had led the advanced guard, 
were all severely wounded, and General Ross himself had a horse 
shot under him. On the side of the Americans the slaughter was not 
so great. Being in possession of a strong position, they were, of 
course, less exposed in defending than the others in storming it, and 
had they conducted themselves with coolness and resolution, it is not 
conceivable how the day could have been won. But the fact is, that 
with the exception of a part of the sailors from the gunboats, under 
the command of Commodore Barney, no troops could behave worse 
than they did. The skirmishers were driven in as soon as attacked. 
The first line gave way without ottering the slightest resistance, and 
the left of the main body was broken within half an hour after it was 
seriously engaged. Of the sailors, however, it would be injustice not 
to speak in terms which their conduct merits. They were employed 
as gunners, and not only did they serve their guns with a quickness 
and precision which astonished their assailants, but they stood till 
some of them were actually bayoneted, with fuses in their hands; nor 
was it till their leader was wounded and taken, and they saw them- 
selves deserted on all sides by the soldiers, that they quit the field." 

General Ross, in his dispatch of August 30, said that his loss at 
the battle of Bladensburg was sixty-four killed and one hundred and 
eighty-five wounded and missing. The numbers given by Gleig com- 
prised the entire loss of the British in killed, wounded, missing, and 
deserters, from the morning of the battle until their reembarkation, 
including the casualties at Washington. 

"On the other hand, the citizen-militia escaped with their valua1)le 
lives, and, without forming again to impede the approach of the enemy 


or to defend the Ciipitol and pnblic l)nildings, disappeared entirely 
from the District, leaving their wives and children to the mercy of 
the victor," 

The destrnction of the Navy Yard followed almost immediately 
after the defeat at Bladensburg. The Secretary of the Navy had given 
orders to Commodore Tingey, that in case of defeat the shipping and 
store at the Xavy Yard should be destroyed, to prevent their falling 
into the enemy's hands. At four o'clock the Secretary of War sent 
a messenger to the Commodore informing him that no further pro- 
tection could be given, and that officer forthwith proceeded to destroy 
the buildings and vessels, notwithstanding earnest ai)peals were made 
by the citizens to have the Navy Yard saved from destruction. At 
twenty minutes past eight o'clock tlie match was ajjplied, and the sloop 
of w^ar Argus, with ten guns mounted, live barges fully armed, two 
gunboats, the frigate Columbia on the stocks, and a large quantity of 
naval stores were consigned to the Hames. The schooner and the 
arsenal escaped destruction. 

After leaving the Capitol the British army marched up Pennsyl- 
vania Avenue, and taking possession of Mrs. Suter's lodging house, 
ordered supper. Meanwhile, they set fire to the Treasury building 
and the President's House. The President himself had retired from 
the city, with his cabinet, on horseback immediately after the close 
of the battle of Bladensbnrg, crossing the Potomac at Little Falls and 
recrossing it at the Creat Falls. The table at the President's House 
was found set for forty guests, in expectation of a welcome to the 
victorious defenders of the city. The wine was cooling on the side- 
board, the [dates warming at the grate, and the meats were on the 
spits in the kitchen. Ross and Cockburn, however, returned to 
Mrs. Suter's house, and, after extinguishing the lights, ate their 
repast by the light of the burning buildings. Later in the evening- 
General Ross nyoined the main army, then on Capitol Hill, and 
Admiral Cockburn, with a few of his companions, passed the night 
in a brothel. During the night, in a lit of rashness, the sentries were 
attacked by a grandnephew of General Washington, a young sailor 
named John Lewis, who was shot down in the street and was found 
dead next morning where he fell. ILid the militia at the battle of 
Bladensbnrg showed the spirit manifested by this young nephew of 
General Washington, the fortunes of the day would have been vastly 
dilferent. On the morning of the 25th, tlie two commanders renewed 
the work of destruction by setting lire to the War and Navy depart- 
ments. The Post Office and the Patent Office were spared by the 

MfrJTARY ///STORY. 227 

enemy on the :ipi)eal of Dr. Thornton to save private i»roi)erty stored 
in the building. General Wasliington's house, a dwelling owned by 
Robert Sewall, from behind wliicli General Koss's horse was shot, tliat 
of Mr. Frost, and the hotel of Daniel Carroll were burned on Capitol 
Hill, when the British proceeded to the Navy Yard to complete the 
ruin commenced under the orders of the Secretary of War. There 
they burned the public works, the private ropewalks of Tench Ring- 
gold, Heath & Company, and John Chalmers, and mutilated the 
monument erected by the officers of the navy to the valiant heroes 
who fell in the Tripolitaii War. 

After setting lire to the ropewalks they threw the torch into 
a dry well into which the Americans had previously cast a large 
quantity of gunpowder and other n:iilitary stores. The immediate 
consequence was a tremendous explosion, which caused death and 
destruction to all around, nearly one hundred of the British soldiers 
being killed and wounded, and their mutilated remains scattered in all 
directions. In addition to the general consternation produced by this 
explosion, a frightful tornado swept over the city, throwing down 
buildings and dealing destruction to everything in its way. The inky 
blackness of the sky, the howling of the storm, the cataract of rain, 
the tierce gleaming of the lightning, the tremendous pealing of the 
thunder, and the crash of falling buildings, all conspired to render 
the scene terrific beyond description, and, as was natural, struck 
terror and dismay alike to the heart of friend and foe. Trees were 
torn up by the roots, roofs were hurled through the air like sheets 
of paper, and scores of the enemy, as well as of the inhabitants of 
the city, were buried beneath the ruins. The elements seemed to vie 
with the English in making the work of destruction as complete as 
possible. The British, taking a needless alarm, or pretending to be 
a})})rehensive of an attack from the brave militia that fought the 
battle of Bladensburg, stealthily withdrew from the city and took up 
their line of march for the point of embarkation. 

President Madison, linally awaking to the seriousness of the situ- 
ation, issued the following proclamation on September 1, 1814: 

"Whereas, the enemy by a sudden incursion have succeeded in 
invading the Capital of the Nation, defended at the moment by troops 
less numerous than their own, and almost entirely of militia; during 
their possession of which, though for a single day only, they Avan- 
tonly destroyed the public edifices having no relations in their 
structure to operations of war, nor used at the time for military 


annoyance; some of these editices being also costly monuments of 
taste and of the arts, and others depositories of the public archives, 
not only precious to the Nation as the memorials of its origin and 
its early transactions, but interesting to all nations, as contributions 
to the general stock of historical instruction and political science; and 

" Whereas, Advantage has been taken of the loss of the fort more 
immediately guarding the town of Alexandria, to place the town 
within the range of the naval force, too long and too much in the 
habit of abusing its superiority, wherever it can be applied, to require 
as the alternative of a general conflagration an undisturbed plunder 
of private property, which lias been executed in a manner peculiarly 
distressing to tiie inhabitants, who had inconsiderately cast themselves 
upon the justice and generosity of the victor; and, 

" Whereas, It now appears, by a direct communication with the 
British commander on the American Station, to be his avowed purpose 
to employ the force under his direction in destroying and laying 
waste such towns and districts upon the coast as may be found 
assailable, adding to his declaration the insulting pretext that it is 
in retaliation for a wanton destruction committed by the army of the 
United States in Upper Canada, when it is notorious that no de- 
struction has been committed which, notwithstanding the multiplied 
outrages previously committed by the enemy, was not unauthorized, 
and promptly shown to be so; and that the United States have been 
as constant in their endeavors to reclaim the enemy from such out- 
rages, by the contrast of their example, as they have been ready to 
terminate on reasonable conditions the war itself; and, 

"Whereas, These proceedings and declared purposes, which ex- 
hibit a deliberate disregard of the principles of humanity and the 
rules of civilized warfare, and which must give to tlie existing war a 
character of extended devastation and barbarism at the very moment 
of negotiations for peace invited by the enemy himself, leave no 
prospect of safety to anything within the reach of his predatory and 
incendiar}' operations but in manful and universal determination to 
chastise and expel the invader; 

"Now, therefore, I, James Madison, President of the United 
States, do issue this, my proclamation, exhorting all the good people 
thereof to unite their hearts and hands, giving effect to the ample 
means possessed for that purpose. I enjoin it upon all officers, civil 
and military, to exert themselves in executing the duties with which 
they are respectivel}- charged. And more especially I require the 
otticers commanding the respective military departments to be vigilant 

}n[.rrARy history. 229 

and alert in providing for the defense thereof; for the more effectual 
accomplishment of which they are autliorized to call to the defense 
of exposed and frontier places portions of the militia most conven- 
ient thereto, whether they he or he not parts of the quotas detached 
for the service of the United States under requisitions of the General 

"On an occasion which appeals so forcibly to the proud feelings 
and patriotic devotion of the American people, knowing what they 
owe to themselves, what they owe to their country and the high 
destinies which await it, what to the glory acquired by their fathers 
in establishing the independence which is now maintained by their 
sons with the augmented strength and resources with which time and 
heaven have blessed them. James Madison." 

Major -General Winlield Scott arrived in Washington, October 
13, 1814. On that day the following oflBcers captured at Bladensburg 
were released on their parole: Joshua Barney, commander of the 
United States flotilla; John Reagan, lieutenant of militia; Samuel 
Miller, captain of marine corps; Dominick Bader, captain of militia; 
G. Von Harter, lieutenant of militia; Robert M. Hamilton, master 
in United States navy; Thomas Duketant, acting master; Jesse 
Iluflington, sailing master; Davidson Robertson, acting midshipman; 
John M, Howland, Fifth Regiment Baltimore Volunteers; J. B. Mar- 
tin, surgeon, besides forty-one privates captured at Bladensburg and 
twenty-six captured at Baltimore. 

But little of interest occurred in Washington after the battle of 
Bladensburg and the capture of the city, until the famous victory 
of General Jackson at New Orleans, January 8, 1815. The news of 
this victory reached Washington February 4, and in the evening 
of that day, wdiich was Saturday, a general illumination of the city 
occurred in honor of the event. Rumors of peace were abroad in 
the city on February 13, and on the 14th the treaty of Ghent, 
signed on the 24th of December preceding, fifteen days before the 
victory at New Orleans, was delivered by Mr. Henry Carroll to the 
Secretary of State, and laid before the Senate of the United States 
on the 15th; and on Saturday night, February 18, 1815, there was a 
general illumination of the city and a grand celebration in honor of 
the peace secured by that treaty, which had been ratified by the 
Senate that day. 

The next war in wiiich Washington was engaged, in common 
with the rest of the country, was that with Mexico, brought on by 


politicians favoring the extension of slavery in order that the balance 
of power between the Slave States and the Free States might be 
maintained as nearly equal as possible. The details connected with 
the origin of this war have been so well presented in numerous 
histories that it is not deemed necessary to attempt to present them 
here. It may not be amiss, however, to call attention to the foct 
that two methods of annexation of the State of Texas to the Union 
attracted widespread attention, and were of universal interest to the 
American people in connection with this movement, — the one by 
treaty, the other by joint resolution of Congress. President Tyler 
negotiated a treaty with Texas for her annexation, which was rejected 
by the Senate by a vote of 35 to 16. According to Hon, Thomas 
H. Benton, who, with great power and vehemence, opposed the pur- 
poses and methods of the war, the rejection of this treaty post})oned 
the w^ar two years, and if the wisdom and patriotism of the Senate 
had had any influence with the executive de}iartment of the Gov- 
ernment, there would have been no war with Mexico, and Texas 
woild at the same time have been annexed. 

Besides annexation by treaty there was but one other method by 
which that end could be peacefully accomplished, and that was by joint 
resolution. So far as Mexico was concerned, it would make but little 
or no difference as to the method by which her territory was procured, 
provided it were a peaceful one; but to the United States the question 
of method was all-important. To annex Texas by treaty would be to 
treat with that republic as an independent power or nation; and after 
annexation was accomplished she would seem to be always in a 
position of observing tlie treaty or not, as she might choose; and of 
pretending that the provisions of the treaty had been violated by the 
United States, whether such violation had or had not occurred; and 
by such pretense she would at any future time be able to inHuence 
her people to favor the abrogation of the treaty on their part; or, in 
other words, to secede from the Union. While on the other hand, 
if the wdiole matter were referred to the law-making power of the 
Government, instead of to the treaty- making power, as would be 
the case if Texas were invited to assume the position of a Territory 
of the Union, and then be admitted as a State, as had been all the 
other States, by the consent of Congress, she wouUI become a member 
of an indissoluble Union, and would thereby become powerless to 
peacefully secede. 

In accordance with this view a joint resolution, introduced into 
the House of Representatives by Mr. Douglas, December 23, 1844, for 


the annexation of Texas to the United States, "in conformity with the 
treaty of 1803 for the i)urcliase of Louisiana/' after a stormy debate, 
was passed, January 25, 1845, by a vote of 120 to 98. In the Senate 
the resohition was so amended on motion of Mr. Benton as to gain 
his support and that of one other Senator, and then passed by a vote 
of 27 yeas to 25 nays. The next day, February 28, as amended, it 
passed in the House of Eepresentatives by a vote of 132 to 76, The 
Congress somewhat marred its work by adding to the joint resolution 
what was and is known as the "Walker Amendment," l)y which tlie 
President was authorized to set it aside and to proceed to "agree 
on the terms of admission and cession, either by treaty to be submitted 
to the Senate, or by articles to be submitted to the two Houses of 
Congress," which part of the amendment was perhaps, howerer, offset 
by the provision in the amendment itself, that the Republic of Texas 
"shall be admitted into the Union by virtue of this act on an C(pial 
footing with the existing States,'' etc. But the President, notwithstanding 
his predilection for the method by treaty, having on the 2d of March 
approved the legislation embodied in the joint resolution, chose to 
set aside the Walker Amendment, and on the next day, the last of 
his term of office, knowing that Congress did not intend to entrust 
him with the discretionar}^ power, sent one of his relatives, a Mr. 
Waggaman, as an express to hasten to communicate to the Republic 
of Texas that he, as President of the United States, had made his 
election as to the alternative contained in the Walker Amendment 
looking to the admission of Texas into the Union, and that he had 
chosen the alternative by joint resolution. The proposition as thus 
submitted by President Tyler was accepted by Texas through her 
Congress and a convention, so that Texas was finally admitted into 
the Union under the authority of the joint resolution, and thus 
assumed a position as a part of the United States precisely similar to 
that maintained by each of the other States, and without any right 
to secede. 

The assumption by President Tyler of the right to choose the 
alternative method of procedure effectually committed President Polk 
to the method thus chosen, especially as the Senate, on March 10, laid 
on the table by a vote of 23 to 20 a resolution introduced by Mr. Ber- 
rien, of Georgia, to the efi'ect that the President would best conform 
to the provisions of the Constitution by resorting to the treaty-making 
power, for the purpose of accomplishing the objects of the joint reso- 
lution. But had President Polk attempted to secure the consent of 
Mexico to the annexation of Texas, and had he Ijeen satisfied with 


tlie proper boundaries of that republic, it is altogether probable 
that peaceful annexation would have been the result; but it appears 
perfectly clear to the student of the history of the entire movement 
that it was continuously the purpose of President Polk's administra- 
tion to add very largely, if not as largely as possible, to the area of 
the United States. In pursuance of this policy President Polk, while 
carrying on a quasi negotiation witli the President of Mexico for the 
settlement of the whole subject in dispute, gave orders on January 
13, 1846, to General Taylor to proceed to the Rio Grande. General 
Taylor received these orders on February 4, left Cort)us Christi on the 
8th, and arrived at Matamoras on the 28th of that month. Inasmuch 
as at that time the Neuces, and not the Rio Grande, was the recog- 
nized boundary of Texas, the march of General Taylor's army to the 
Rio Grande was an invasion of Mexican territory, and was so consid- 
ered by that country. As an act of invasion it was the real cause of 
the war, and drew from Mexico a declaration of war. On April 4, 
1846, the Government of Mexico sent an order to General Arista to 
attack the forces of General Taylor with all the force at his command. 
The war thus having been brought on by the invasion of Mexican 
territory and by the consequent declaration of war by Mexico, the 
Congress of the United States, on May 12 following, declared that "by 
the act of the Republic of Mexico a state of war exists between that 
Government and the United States,'" and on the next day President 
Polk issued his proclamation to the American people, informing them 
of the fact of war, and of its declaration by Congress, and exhorting 
them, "as they love their country, as they feel the wrongs which have 
forced on them the last resort of injured nations, and as they consult 
as to the best means under Divine Providence of abridging its calami- 
ties, to exert themselves in observing order, in promoting concord, in 
maintaining the authority and the efficacy of the laws, and in sup- 
porting all the measures which might be adopted by the constituted 
authorities for obtaining a speedy, just, and honorable peace." 

Thus, after the war had been in existence for more than two 
months by the action of the army under the orders of the President, 
without any necessity and without any justilication, was tlie Congress 
brought to its sanction, and to the giving of a false reason for the 
part it took, by the declaration that war existed "by the act of 
the Republic of Mexico." 

In pursuance of a call issued a few days before, a large and 
respectable meeting was held at the City Ilall, May 15, 1846, which, 
on motion, was temporarily organized by the election as chairman of 


Major Malay. Major Malay, after a speech explanatory of the object 
of the meet'mg, suggested the name of E. Brook for permanent chair- 
man and Thomas M. Gleason as secretary, both of whom were 
unanimously elected. Mr. O'Brien then moved that a committee of 
five be a[)pointed to wait upon Ex- President Houston, of Texas, and 
Senator Jarnagin, of Tennessee, to request their attendance at an 
adjourned meeting to be held at the same place Saturday evening, 
May 16. William O'Brien, E. Brook, Thomas M. Gleason, John W. 
Mount, and Major Malay were appointed. This adjourned meeting was 
organized by the election of Dr. Bronaugh, of Missouri, as chairman. 
Lieutenant W. D. Porter delivered an address, alluding to the many 
depredations committed on the people of the United States by Mexico, 
and trusting that the young men of the city of Washington would 
come boldly to the rescue. Hon. Barclay Martin, of the Sixth Con- 
gressional District of Tennessee, followed in a very eloquent speech, 
telling the young men the necessity of buckling on their armor and 
going to the war. Colonel R. M. Johnson then spoke "in his usual 
style of oratory," saying he was not in favor of stopping at the Rio 
Grande, but would march into the interior of Mexico, and cut their 
departments right and left. He spoke of cutting oft" California from 
Mexico and annexing that country to the United States. Hon. F. G. 
McConnell then entertained the meeting, as did also Hon. F. P. Stanton 
and Mr. St. John, of New York. The latter urged the young men to 
enroll themselves for the war, and at the close of his speech forty-five 
of them presented themselves as volunteers. 

On May 18, a meeting was held at the Franklin Engine House, of 
which J. Cooper was made chairman. J. E. Norris addressed the meet- 
ing, and a company of volunteers, called "Washington Volunteers, 
No. 1," was organized by the election of John Waters captain, William 
Parham first lieutenant, and Eugene Boyle second lieutenant. No 
men were to be taken in this company who were under eighteen 
years of age. 

At a meeting at the City Hall, addresses were delivered by 
Robert Ratcliffe, Robert Bronaugh, and Hon. John Wentworth of 
Chicago. Thirty-five young men enrolled themselves, which ran the 
number in this company up to eighty-six. The name adopted for this 
company was the " Washington Cit}^ Rifiemen," and its officers elected 
as follows: Robert Bronaugh, captain; Phineas B. Bell, first lieu- 
tenant; William O'Brien, second lieutenant, and four sergeants and 
four corporals. Dr. W. L. Frazier was chosen surgeon. The sergeants 
were as follows: John W. Mount, Josephus Dawes, Lewis F. Beeler, 


and William A. Woodward; the corporals, Andrew Kemp, John 
Kelly, Jacob C. llcmmrick, and Jolm P. White. These companies 
went into the United States barracks to drill, preparator}' to going to 
the front. Three companies from Baltimore, namely, the first and 
second companies of the Baltimore Volunteers, and the Chesapeake 
Riflemen, were also in the barracks at the same time. These several 
companies were removed to Fort Washington June 10, 1846, under 
the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Watson, to await embarkation 
for the southern army, tlie steamship Massachusetts having been char- 
tered by the Government of the United States to take the entire 
battalion to the Rio Grande. A company of volunteers was formed 
in Alexandria June 12, which elected ofticers as follows: Captaii], 
iM. D. Corse; first lieutenant, C. S. Price; second lieutenant, T. W. 
Ashly, and first sergeant, Benjamin Waters, Jr. The Secretary of 
War was, however, obliged to decline their services at that time, as 
tlie battalion from this city and Baltimoi'e was already filled. June 
16, the battalion from Baltimore and Washington sailed from Alex- 
andria in the ship 3Iassachusetts for tlie Rio Grande. The officers of 
this battalion were as follows: Lieutenant-colonel, William H. Wat- 
son; adjutant, F. B. Shaffer; surgeon, G. M. Dove. Company 
A — Captain, J. E. Stewart; first lieutenant, B. F. Owen; second lieu- 
tenant, Samuel Wilt. Company B — Captain, James Piper; first 
lieutenant, M. K. Taylor; second lieutenant, I. Dolan. Company C — 
Captain, Robert Bronaugh, etc., as already given. Company D — Cap- 
tain, John Waters, etc., as given above. Company E — Captain, J. R. 
Kenl}-; first lieutenant, F. B. Shaffer; second lieutenant, Odon Bowie. 
Company of light infantr}' — Captain, James Boyd; first lieutenant, 
Joseph H. Rudduch; second lieutenant, R. E. Ilustel. 

The battle of Monterey was fought September 21, 1846, the bat- 
talion from Baltimore and Washington being engaged in the storming 
of the place, and Lieutenant-Colonel Watson was killed. James E. 
Stewart, who succeeded to the command, wrote from the camp, near 
Monterey, September 26, as follows: 

"The battalion of Maryland and tlie District of Cohimbia volun- 
teers, nnder the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Watson, connected 
with the First Regiment of Infantry, the whole under the command 
of Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, were ordered to mai'ch at about eight 
o'clock in the morning of the 21st inst., for an attack on Monterey. 
The battalion were out in their full strength, save Company C, 
Captain Bronaugh, which was ordered to remain on guard duty at 
the camp, and Lieutenant Owen, of Company A, with a detachment 


of twelve men, were ordered on picket duty l)y General Twiggs. 
The buttiilion marched toward the city, and charged in a most gallant 
manner on a battery, under a galling tire, in which it sustained some 
loss. The point of attack was then changed by order of Colonel 
Garland, and we entered tiie city exposed to a destructive fire from 
several batteries, supported by a large number of infantry, which 
raked the streets. We remained in the city for nearly half an hour, 
when we were ordered to retire. In doing so the battalion became 
separated. Colonel Watson fell by a musket shot whilst gallantly 
leading on to a second assault on the city, A portion of the battalion 
was then formed under Captain Kenly, and remained on the field of 
battle until it was ordered back to camp by General Twiggs, having 
been under a heavy fire for nearly nine hours, losing in the action six 
killed and eighteen wounded. I take pleasure in noticing the gallant 
conduct of the battalion throughout." 

On Sunday, November 22, 1846, Captain Samuel II. Walker arrived 
in Washington from the battlefields in Mexico, and was given a most 
hearty reception in Odd Fellows' Ilall. Speeches ap})ropriate to the 
occasion were made by Messrs. Ratclift'e, C. S. WaUach, E. II. Harri- 
man, Joseph H. Bradley, D. Wallach, Lewis F. Thomas, and Mayor 
W. W. Seaton. Captain Walker responded, expressing his gratifica- 
tion at receiving such a flattering testimonial of respect, and the entire 
number present — about one thousand — took him by the hand. Cap- 
tain Walker, in January, 1847, raised a company of mounted riflemen 
for the regiment to which he belonged, in Washington and its vicinity, 
and on February 6 his company left Washington for Baltimore in a 
special train en route for the seat of war. Twenty of the young men 
in this company were from Prince George's County, Maryland. 

A meeting was held at, the city Council chamber Friday evening, 
January 22, 1847, for the purpose of raising a company of soldiers for 
the Mexican War, the Mayor of the city making the address. The 
company was organized by the election of ofhcers as follows: Caj)- 
tain, John M. Thornton; first lieutenant, Edmund Barry; second 
lieutenant, Hume Young; orderly sergeant, David Westertield, Jr. The 
name adopted for this company was "Washington's Own." About 
April 25, 1847, the Secretary of War called upon the major-general 
of the District to furnish three companies of volunteers, to form, with 
two companies from Maryland, a battalion for immediate active 
service, to be under the command ot Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Lee 
Jones. This was the last recruiting done in Washington for the war. 

On February 21, 1848, a treaty of peace signed by Mr, N. P. Trist 


on the part of tlie United States, and by tlie Mexican authorities, was 
received in Washington, and on Marcli 10, after two weeks' debate on 
the part of the Senate, was ratified by tliat body by a vote of 38 to 
14. On May 25, it was ratified by the Mexican Senate by a vote of 
33 to 4. July 4, President Polk issued a proclamation declaring peace 
established, and on the Gth of the same month sent a message to 
Congress announcing the end of the war. 

Article V. of this treaty was as follows: "The boundary line 
between the two republics shall commence in the Gulf of Mexico 
three leagues from land, opposite the mouth of the Rio Grande, other- 
wise called Kio Bravo del Norte, oi)posite the mouth of its deepest 
branch, if it should have more than one branch emptying directly 
into the sea; thence up the middle of that river, following the deepest 
channel, where it has more than one, to the point where it strikes 
the southern boundary of New Mexico; thence westwardly along the 
wdiole southern boundary of New Mexico [which runs north of the 
town called Paso] to its western termination; thence northward along 
the western line of New Mexico until it intersects the first branch 
of the river Gila, or if it should not intersect any branch of that 
river, then to the point on said line nearest to such branch, and 
thence in a direct line to the same; thence down the middle of 
the said branch and of the said river until it empties into the Kio 
Colorado; thence across the Rio Colorado, following the division line 
between Upper and Lower California, to the Pacific Ocean." 

By Article XII. of this treaty, the United States agreed to pay 
to Mexico for the territory acquired from her, Texas and Upper Cali- 
fornia, fifteen millions of dollars, — three millions immediately on the 
ratification of tlie treaty by the Mexican authorities, and thereafter 
three millions per year until the whole should be paid, and also interest 
on what remained unpaid at the rate of six per cent, per annum. 

lion. A. H. Sevier, United States Senator from Arkansas, and 
the Attorney-General, Nathan Clifford, were appointed commissioners 
to exchange ratifications, and the latter was ordered to remain in 
Mexico as the resident minister from the United States. 

The War of the Rebellion really began many years before actual 
hostilities commenced in 1861. That the existence of slavery was the 
cause thereof, no one can now seriously doubt who is tolerably well 
informed. Slavery came near preventing the formation of the Union 
in the first place, and was, so long as it existed, a constant menace to 
the existence of the Union. At the beginning of the Revolutionary 
War, the entire country was a slaveliolding country; but while that 


war was going on, tlie New England antl some of the Middle States, 
perceiving the inconsistency of striving for their own liberty and at 
the same time striving to perpetuate the subjection of another race, 
passed acts of immediate or gradual emanci}>ation of the slaves witliin 
their boundaries. Massachusetts passed an act of immediate emanci- 
pation in 1780, and Pennsylvania in the same year passed an act of 
gradual emancipation. Indeed, there were many individuals in the 
Soutb as well as in the North who wore deeply impressed with 
tlie inconsistency of lighting to establish freedom for themselves while 
they were denying freedom to others, who, under the laws of nature, 
had the same right to it as they. Rhode Island and Connecticut 
gradually emancipated their slaves. In 1799, New York passed a 
gradual emancipation act, and in 1817 another act declaring all slaves 
free July 4, 1827. New Jersey passed a gradual emancipation act in 
1804, and thus slavery was abolished in all of the New England and 
Middle States long prior to the breaking out of the Rebellion. 

But the States south of Pennsylvania adhered to the institution, 
and indeed some of them, notably South Carolina and Georgia, made 
its perpetuation by constitutional provision a condition of the ratifi- 
cation by them of the Constitution itself. This condition is thus 
expressed: "Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned 
among the several States which ma}' be included within this Union, 
according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by 
adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to 
service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three- 
lifths of all other persons." Thus was the Constitution of the 
country made the bulwark of the institution, and the country divided 
into two hostile sections, which continually became more hostile to 
each other as time rolled on. The joy and gratitude felt by the people 
of both sections for the success of their arms in the struggle with 
Great Britain, and for the successful establishment of a national gov- 
ernment of their own, were such that for years but little attention 
was given to the institution of slavery. It was known to all that 
under the Constitution the importation of slaves must cease in 1808, 
and also that in the States Congress by that Constitution liad been 
rendered powerless to interfere with the institution. Little could 
tlierefore be done in a practical way, except to abolish slavery in 
the District of Columbia, for which consummation petition after peti- 
tion was presented to Congress, causing more and more acrimonious 
debate as the years rolled by. The Missouri Compromise came, and 
then its repeal. Afterward came the Nebraska Bill, designed to give 


two more States to the Union, but wliicli in reality gave two more 
Free States, Kansas and Xebraska, to the Linion, and this (^ttect proving 
to be the practical working of the Squatter Sovereignty doctrine, 
demonstrated to the Soutii that the ultimate result of the struggle, of 
the irrepressible contlict, that was not only irrepressible but certain 
to continue until either freedom or slavery should win a final victory 
if the South should remain in the Union, determined for her her 
course with reference to the Union. 

It is not proper to attempt to relate in this volume with any 
degree of minuteness the steps in either section of the conntr}' which 
led to the secession of the Southern States, I'or in the lirst place, that 
is not the object foi" which the work is written, and in the second 
place, that work has l)een done by others much better than it could 
be done lierein; yet, while this is the case, it is proper to refer 
briefly to a few of tlie facts and incidents which preceded and produced 
that secession. While, (bii'ing many years previous to 1850, there liad 
been heard here and thei'e in both the East and the South a few 
voices demanding the dissolution of the Union, yet no great alarm 
was felt for the safety of the Union previous to that 3'ear. But the 
question had been raised in the First Congress by the introduction 
of a memorial to the House of Representatives from the "Annual 
Meeting of Friends," of New York and Philadelphia, in October, 
1789, in obedience to a sense of duty they felt incumbent u}ion 
them as religious bodies, etc. It was not long after this that a 
memorial was presented from "The Pennsylvania Society for the 
Abolition of Slavery," signed by Benjamin Franklin, president, 
praying for tlfe abolition of slavery. In this way, as has been said, 
by the presentation of petitions to Congress upon the subject, a 
subject upon which Congress was powerless under the Constitution 
as it then stood, was the question persistently ke[)t under discussion, 
with but little fear of danger until the debate upon the admission of 
California into the Union as a Free State, in the session of 1849-50, 
when the subject assumed alarming proportions to all those, both 
North and South, who desired that the Union should be preserved, and 
even to those who desired its preservation merely as secondary to the 
preservation of the institution of slavery. For a long time the specter 
of the Xashville Convention, which convened in Nashville in 1850, was 
a dreaded thing to lovers of the Union in both sections; but when it 
was discovered that the Southern States were slow to elect delegates 
thereto, and when it had been held and had resulted in failure, there 
not being then suthcient disunion sentiment to give it sustenance, that 


specter melted away, leaving scarcely a wi-eck behind. What it might 
iiuve accomplished, however, was shown on May 28, 1851, by Hon. 
II. S. Foote, United States Senator from Mississipi)i, in a speech in 
Attala County, that State, in which he said: "The idea of demand- 
ing amendments to the Constitution, and in case of failing to obtain 
them, resorting to secession, was first broaclied by Mr. Calhoun after 
our October convention in 184*,)"; that Mr. Calhoun told him that 
he had no expectation of obtaining these amendments; but Mr. Cal- 
houn thought that if tbey should be refused, then the South would 
unite in favor of a Southern convention, and that Mr. Calhoun had 
prepared a constitution for the new republic wliich was to have been 
formed out of one of the fragments of the Union as it then existed. 
All of this revelation by lion. Mr. Foote as to Mr. Calhoun's plans and 
purposes was in perfect accord with Mr. Calhoun's prediction, made 
in 1846, that within a generation there would be formed a Southern 
Confederac}', and that Atlanta, Georgia, would be its capital. 

The insurrection at Harper's Ferry occurred October 16, 1859. 
The particulars of this insurrection are so well known that it is not 
necessary to more than refer to them in this connection, and no 
attempt is made in this work to do more than to narrate the events 
transpiring in Washington immediately connected with that foolhardy 
affair, which in itself was equally unnecessar}- and unjustifiable with 
the later and much greater insurrection which had for its object the 
breaking up of the Government of the United States, except that 
the motive actuating the insurrectionists at Harper's Ferry was the 
liberation of the slave. The outbreak came without premonition, and 
was caused by no special provocation. Of course great excitement was 
caused in this city, as elsewhere, and during the day following the 
announcement of the outbreak there was manifested the greatest 
eagerness to learn of its progress and success. At three o'clock of the 
morning of October 18, Governor Wise, of Virginia, arrived in Wash- 
ingtou, accompanied by the Greys of Richmond, about sixty in 
number, and the Alexandria Rifles. Governor Wise found Mayor 
James G. Berrett at the City Hall, surrounded by the police, and 
remained there most of the time until six o'clock, when he took the 
train for Harper's Ferry. At three o'clock in the afternoon the mail 
boat from Acquia Creek, and other boats on the Potomac River, 
brought up five companies of the Virginia troops, numbering ubout 
three hundred men, two or tliree of which companies marched imme- 
diately to the railroad depot, but receiving there a dispatch from 
Governor Wise, they returned, the Young Guard of Richmond taking 


the opportunity to parade along Pennsylvania Avenue. The order 
and quiet in Washington for the next succeeding two or three days 
were painful in the extreme, no one knowing what to expect, and 
hence fearing the worst. On Sunday, November 20, 1859, Governor 
Wise, with a regiment of Virginia volunteers from Richmond, four 
hundred and four strong in rank and tile, arrived in Washington, 
leaving for Harper's Ferry at 10:00 a. m. that day. In the afternoon 
three companies from Petersburg arrived, and as they could not get 
out of town they remained until next morning. 

November 27, 1859, a company of troops arrived in Washington 
for Charlestown, Virginia, and on the 28tli three other companies 
arrived for the same destination, notwithstanding there were then 
stationed at that point six hundred and lifty men, and in the entire 
county there were under arms not less than one thousand men; thus 
showing the supposed necessity for a strong force to prevent the 
spreading of the John Brown heresy into Virginia. The execution 
of John Brown followed in a few days afterward, on December 2, 
with a promptness and certainty which were commendable. 

The excitement caused by this episode in American history did 
not subside before other causes of excitement arose. Tlie Republican 
Association of Washington, on May 28, 1860, held a meeting to 
ratify the nomination of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin to 
the positions of Presidency and Vice-Presidency, respectively. B. B. 
French, president of the association, addressed the assemblage, wliich 
was in front of the southwest [lortico of the City Hall, and read a 
series of resolutions expressive of the sentiments of the Republican 
Party. Hon. J. R. Boolittle, Seiuitor from Wisconsin, presented very 
briefly the positions of the two great parties. Hon. Israel Washburn, 
of iVlaine, said that while he had favored Mr. Seward, yet he would 
do all he could to secure the election of Mr. Lincoln. Hon. B. F. 
Wade, Hon. G. A. Gnnv, Hon. Henry Wilson, Hon. Ely Spaulding, 
Hon. John A. P)ingham, and Mr. McKeaii of New ^"oi'k, eacli, made 
short addresses. 

On Jul}' 3, 1800, another ratification meeting was held at the 
same place, to ratify the nomination of Ste}»hen A. Douglas and ller- 
schel V. Johnson to the same othces. A large l)anner was thrown to 
the breeze, bearing the inscri})tion, "No Secession,"' in large letters. 
The meeting was addressed by (^leorge W. Brent of Alexandria, Ellis 
B. Schnabel of Philadelphia, and Dr. lUiIver of W^asliington. 

On July 9, a similai' meeting was held by those favoring the elec- 
tion of Hon. John 0, Breckinridge and Hon. Joseph Lane. Their 


motto was, "The Constitution, and the Equality of the States." Mayor 
Berrett,. of Washington, presided, and James M. Carlisle, A. B. Meek 
of Alabama, Isaac I. Stevens of Washington Territory, A. G. Brown 
of Mississippi, and Jefferson Davis made addresses. 

Still another ratification meeting, and the largest of all, was held 
in front of the City Hall August 8, 18G0, to ratify the nomination of 
Hon. John Bell and Hon. Edward Everett to the same positions. 
The central portion of the City Hall was used on this occasion, and a 
large platform erected between the two wings. Mr. B. O. Tayloe 
called upon Philip R. Feudal! to preside, who claimed that Mr. Bell, 
like Themistocles, on a former occasion, was the second choice of all 
the parties that had candidates in the field, and argued hence that he 
was at least fit to be the first choice of all. Robert E. Scott of 
Fauquier County, Virginia, Hon. J. Morrison Harris of Baltimore, 
Robert J. Bowie of Maryland, B. L. Hodge of Louisiana, Hon. Alex- 
ander R. Boteler of Virginia, and Joseph H. Bradley of Washington, 
addressed the meeting. 

Mr. Lincoln was elected November 6, 1860, and on the next day 
occurred what may perhaps be called the first battle of the subsequent 
civil war. Late at night on the da}' of election, it became known 
what the result was, and toward midnight it was proposed and agreed 
to, at the Breckinridge headquarters, on Pennsylvania Avenue between 
Four and a Half and Sixth streets, that the fifty or sixty members of 
the National Volunteers should repair in a body to the Republican 
headquarters at the corner of Indiana Avenue and Second Street, and 
"wreck the shanty." There was then a large party of Breckini-idge 
men at Brown's Hotel, which united with the National Volunteers, 
making the combined strength of the two parties about three hundred 
men. Proceeding to the. Republican building, they began, when in 
front of it, to fire pistols and throw stones at the windows, soon 
demolishing all in the second story of the building. Going around 
to the Second Street side, the}' broke open the door, which was 
locked, went u[) stairs, and began the destruction of the paraphernaliji 
and furnitui'e of the rooms. They also entered the room above the 
wigwam and destroyed the stands of type, and scattered type all 
around the room. Some half dozen scared Republicans retreated to 
the roof of the building. Soon several policemen, headed by Lieu- 
tenant McHenry, entered and took possession of the rooms, and made 
arrests of those in the building, including three Republicans and five 
of the Volunteers. An investigation was had at the office of Justice 
Bonn, but no very severe punishment was inflicted. 


Tluit it was the full determination of the Southern leaders to take 
their States out of the Union, in case of the election of Mr. Lincoln, 
— toward which they lent theii' powerful and essential assistance by 
breaking up the Democratic Party at Charleston, South Carolina, in 
the summer of 18G0,— though then not so widely known as now, was 
yet well known to those who had opportunities of tinding out the 
truth. iSiotwithstanding the well-known fact that many patriotic citi- 
zens vvere preparing to meet in convention in Washington, at the call 
of the State of Virginia, to agree upon measures which they intended 
to pro])ose to the people of the United States as a basis of compro- 
mise for all serious ditference between the sections, yet on the 5th of 
January, 18G1, there was held a caucus in this city by Southern seces- 
sion Senators from Fiorichi, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, 
Arkansas, and Texas, at which these gentlemen in effect resolved to 
assume to themselves the political and military power of the South, to 
control all political and military movements for the immediate future, 
and telegraphed to their followers in the South to complete the plan 
by seizing forts, arsenals, custondiouses, and other property belonging 
to the United States; and advised the conventions then in session and 
soon to be in session, to pass ordinances of secession; but themselves, 
in order to thwart any operations of the General Government, were 
to retain their places in the Senate. These Senators at this caucus 
also advised, ordered, or directed the assend>ling of a convention of 
delegates from the seceding States to be held at Montgomery, Ala- 
bama, about February IB, 18(31, which could be done only by the 
seceding conventions usurping the powers of the people and sending 
deletrates over whom they would lose control in the establishment of 
:i provisional government, which was the plan of the caucus members. 
This same caucus also resolved to take the most efficient measures to 
intluence the legislatures of the States of Tennessee, Kentucky, Mis- 
souri, Arkansas, Texas, and Virginia, into following in the wake of 
the seceding cotton States; nor was Maryland to be forgotten or 

This was a most remarkable and startling exposition: Senators 
of the United States, re[n'esenting sovereign States and sworn to 
sup[)ort the Constitution of the LTnited States, looked to by at least a 
portion of their constituents to oifect some method of adjustment by 
which civil war might be avoided, deliberately considering and con- 
coctiui;" a conspiracy by means of which the Government might be 
the more easily, and thus the more surely, overthrown — that Govern- 
ment which they were at the time under the most solemn of oatlis to 

Mfi. rr.] i< ) ' HIS tor ) ; 243 

niaiiitaiii aiul 8n})})ort, the conteniplatcd overthrow to he aeeorDplished 
through such niiHtary organizations as tlie Kniglits of the Golden 
Circle, Coinniittccs of Safety, Southern Leagues, and otlicr similar 
agencies, all at their command, thus dividing the South from the 
North, and then dividing the Soutli among themselves. 

Only a day or two afterward, the Washington correspondent of 
the Baltimore Smi corroborated the statement, as given in substance 
above, by saying that the leaders of the Southern movement were 
consulting together as to the best method of consolidating their 
interests into a Southern Confederacy, under a provisional govern- 
ment, etc. 

Not only in corroboration of, but in full demonstration of, the 
accuracy of this remarkable exposition, was the letter of Hon. D. L. 
Yulee, United States Senator from the State of Florida, which is here 

"Washington, D. C, January 7, 1861. 

"My Dear Sir: On the other side is a co})y of resolutions adopted 
at a consultation of the Senators from the seceding States in which 
Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, and Florida 
were present. 

"The idea of the meeting was that the States should go out at 
once, and provide for the organization of a Confederate Government 
not later than the 15tli of February. This time is allowed to enable 
Louisiana and Texas to participate. 

"It seemed to be the opinion that if we left here, force, loan, 
and volunteer bills might be passed, which would })ut Mr. Lincoln 
in immediate condition for hostilities; whereas, by remaining in our 
places until the 4th of March, it is thought we can keep the liands 
of Mr. Buchanan tied, anid disable the Republicans from effecting 
any legislation which will strengthen the hands of the incoming 

[Another paragrai)h followed, which is of no historic interest in 
this connection.] "D. L. Yulee. 

"To Joseph Finegan, Esq., 
"Sovereignty Convention, 
" Tallahassee, Florida." 

The resolutions referred to in this letter as having been adopted 
at the caucus of January 5, were as follows: 

"1. That in our opinion each of the Southern States should, as 
soon as may be, secede from the Union. 


"2. That provision should be made for a convention to organize 
a confederacy of the seceding States, the convention to meet not later 
than the 15th of Febnniry, at the city of Montgomery, in the State 

of Alabanui. 

"3. That in view of the hostile legislation that is threatened 
against the seceding States, and which may be consummated by the 
4th of March, we ask instructions whether the delegates are to remain 
in Congress until that date for the defeating of such legislation. 

"4. That a committee be and are hereby apiH»inted, consisting 
ot Messrs. Davis, Slidell, and Mallory, to carry out the objects of 
this meeting."' 

Soon afterward, upon the solicitation of the State of Virginia, 
speaking through her legislature, a peace convention, above referred 
to, assembled in Washington, meeting in Willard's Hall, on F 
Street, between Fourteenth and Fifteenth streets. This convention 
was organized February 4, 1861, with Ex-President John Tyler as its 
chairman, and S. C. Wright as secretary. Much was hoped from this 
convention by the Northern and border Slave States, but nothing by 
the more southern Slave States, because, as has been intimated before, 
they were determined to secede irrespective of what might be done 
by any portion of the people, or by the Government itself. On the 
same day that this Peace Convention met in Washington, the delegates 
to the Confederate Congress met in Montgomery, the States of South 
Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida being 
represented. President Tyler addressed the convention, saying that 
the members thereof had as grand a task before them as had been 
pcrt\)rmed by tlieir "godlike fathers" in the founding of the glorious 
Constitution and Government which was then imperiled by the seces- 
sion movement. On the 23d of February, the convention, having 
completed its labors by formulating an amendment to the Constitu- 
tion, closely resembling the Crittenden compromise, which it proposed 
to the country for adoption, and by passing a resolution advising the 
Government of the United States not to make war on the seceded 
and seceding States, adjourned. 

About the middle of January, there were rumors atloat of combi- 
luitions being formed to interfere witli the inauguration of Mr. Lin- 
coln. Of course the city of Washington was interested in knowing 
the truth or falsity of these rumors, and in order to learn something 
detinite, if possible, as to their truth, Mayor James G. Berrett wrote to 
Marshal George P. Kane, of Baltimore, receiving a reply dated January 
10, to the etfect that so far as Baltimore was concerned, nothing 


could be further from the truth. Sucli rumors, however, contiuued 
to cn-cuhite. One form these rumors took was that the President- 
elect had contemplated coinint!:; to Washhigton over the Baltimore 
and Ohio Railroad, but that on account of apprehended dangers liad 
changed his purpose. Mayor Berrett therefore, on February 1, wrote 
to John W. Garrett, president of that company, asking information as 
to the truth of alleged threats against Mr. Lincoln's safety. February 
4, Mr. Garrett replied that there was not, nor liad there been, the 
slightest foundation for any of the rumors to which the Mayor 
referred. On the same day that Mr. Garrett wrote this letter to 
Mayor Berrett, Major-General R. C, Weigiitman, in command of the 
militia of the District of Colundjia, requested of the Mayor of Wash- 
ington tlie names and residences of the police for both day and night 
service, because, as he said, if tlie assistance of the police should be 
required it would be of importance to have the means of reaching 
them as early as practicable. To this request the Mayor replied that 
he was not ignorant of the fact that secret organizations were 
alleged to have been set on foot in Washington and in the adjoining 
States of Virginia and Maryland for the purpose of seizing upon the 
District of Columbia by force of arms with the view of etfecting a 
revolution in the Federal Government by preventing the inauguration 
of the President-elect; nor was he ignorant of the fact that in order 
to oppose and thwart the supposed conspiracy in the execution of 
its unhallowed designs, orders had been issued, and were in process 
of execution, for enrolling, arming, and disciplining the militia of the 
District, while for the same purpose unusual numbers of Federal 
troops were concentrating at this point. And more than that, not- 
withstanding he had used every possible eftbrt to ferret out the 
conspiracy, yet he had been unable to iind one tittle of evidence that 
any such conspiracy existed. The Mayor closed I)}' declining to 
furnish the desired information. 

It was generally expected that Mr. Lincoln would arrive in Wash- 
ington on Saturday, February 23, 1861, and thousands of the citizens 
of ])oth sexes determined to witness his entrance into the city. This 
determination was, however, defeated by the arrival of Mr, Lincoln 
some time during the preceding night, having come directly through 
from Ilarrisburg, Pennsylvania, instead of stopping at Baltimore on 
Saturday and reaching Washington in the afternoon or evening of 
Saturday, according to tlie original arrangement. This was not merely 
surprising, it was actually amazing, to the people of the entire countr)-, 
as it was tlashed over the wires on the morning of the 23d. Several 


tlieories were inuiiecliutely in circulation to account for this sudden 
and secret cliano^e of plan on Mr. Lincoln's part. One explanation 
was, that he had been telei;Taphed to be present during the meeting 
of the Peace Convention. Another was, that lie had been advised to 
come direct to Washington, to prevent possible disturbances that might 
grow out of convicting jjurposes of political clubs in Baltimore — of 
the liepublican clubs to honoi- him, and of Democratic clubs to prevent 
anv such demonstration. Of course there was great disappointment 
in Baltimore. On the 26th of February, it was given out, on the 
authority of Marshal Kane, of that city, that Mr. Lincoln had passed 
quietly through Baltimore, to avoid any demonstration that might be 
made by his political friends; for, while there was no doubt that 
Mr. Lincoln would be treated with all the respect du-e to him person- 
ally, yet there was no assurance that his political friends, in giving 
him a welcome, would be treated in the same manner. The Baltimore 
American said that Mr. Lincoln's incognito entrance into Washington 
was in accordance with his wish to escape from his pretended friends, 
and thus to prevent a breach of the peace, which would be disgraceful 
to the city and derogatory to the American character. 

Upon arriving in the city, Mr. Lincoln went to Willard's Hotel, 
where he was met by Mr. Seward, and they together called upon 
President Buchanan. On the following Wednesday, the Mayor and 
Council of Washington waited upon him and tendered him a welcome. 
The next evening he was serenaded by the Republican Association, 
accompanied by the Marine Band. At his inauguration there was a 
greater display of military force than had ever been seen on a similar 
occasion. N'early twenty of the well-drilled companies of the militia 
of the District of Columbia were out, comprising a force of more than 
two thousand men. In addition, Georgetown contributed companies 
of cavalry, infantry, and artillery of line accomplishments. Collected 
at two or three points, as at the City Hall and at Willard's Hotel, they 
were centers of attraction for the citizens. After attending at the 
Capitol in the morning, President Buchanan, accompanied by tlie 
Senate committee, left the Executive Mansion, went to Willard's Hotel 
to receive the President-elect, and the party thus composed, attended 
by distinguished citizens in carriages, on horseback, and on foot, 
proceeded along Pennsylvania Avenue, with military in front and 
rear, and at a quarter past one in the afternoon the President and 
l*resident-elect entered the Senate chamber, and soon afterward pro- 
ceeded to the east front of the Capitol, where Mr. Lincoln read liis 
in;inuiir;il address, listened to bv at least ten thousand of his fellow- 

MfrJTARY If /STORY. 247 

citizens, ut tlie close of wliicli tlie oath of office was administered to 
him by tlie venerable Chief Justice of the United States. The mil- 
itary [)rei)arations were so thorough and complete that it would have 
been practically impossible for anyone to have successfully attempted 
violence to the President on this occasion; but when all was over, 
apprehensions were allayed and all breathed with their accustomed 
freedom, so far as the question of the safe inauguration of the Presi- 
dent was concerned. 

On April 10, there was a hurried gathering of all the mend)ers 
of the various military companies in tlie city, the order having been 
issued late on Tuesday night, the 9th inst. Inspections took place at 
different places; of four companies at Temperance Hall by Colonel 
Stone, and in front of the War Department all the companies were 
inspected by A. A. G. McDowell in the presence of Adjutant-General 
Thomas and several other officers of the army. Ten companies in 
all were inspected, eight from Washington and two from Georgetown. 
The object of the inspection was to muster them into the service 
of the United States. Several of the men, however, refused to take 
the oath, though this refusal it was said was based upon the suppo- 
sition that the Government wanted to send them outside of the 
District. The names of the companies, together with the numbers 
composing them, were as follows: Washington Light Infantry Battal- 
ion, Colonel Davis, 125 men; Company A, Captain E. C. Carrington, 
100 men; Companies A, 13, C of the National Guard, each company 
about 100 men; the Washington Rifles, Captain Balbach, 50 men; 
Company B of the Union Regiment, Captain Kelly, 60 men; the 
National Rifles, Captain Smead, 27 men; the Carrington Home 
Guard, Captain Goddard, 60 men; Potomac Light Infantry, of George- 
town, Captain McKenny, 61 men. 

The demand for the surrender of Fort Sumter was made April 
11, and the batteries on Sullivan's Islaiid and at other points opened 
upon the fort at four o'clock the next morning. Then came the call 
for troops from all over the South. Fort Sumter was surrendered 
April 13, and on Monday, the 15th, came the proclamation from the 
President calling for seventy-flve thousand men to suppress combina- 
tions of men too powerful for the ordinary means of the Government, 
and to cause the laws to be duly executed, and also convening 
Congress in extra session on July 4, 1861. The law under which 
the militia was thus called out by President Lincoln was the act of 
1795, enacted by Congress for the purpose of providing means to 
suppress the Whisky Insurrection in Pennsylvania, when several 


thonsandf; of insurgents were in arms against the Federal Gov- 

On tlie Saturday }>revious to tlie issuance of the proclamation, 
aV)out 40 men were mustered into Captain Carrington's company, and 
20 into Captain Kelly's. The Anderson liitles, from Georgetown, to 
the numher of 52, all were mustered in, which made the tenth com- 
})any mustered. On the 15th, the enlistment of men into the United 
States service went forward as ra})idly as practicable, the greater part 
of the day being thus occupied. Ca})tain Gerhardt, of the Turner 
Rifles, added 30 men to his company, making 120 in all; the Met- 
roi)olitan Ivifles, Captain Nalley, added 17 men, making the number 
u[) to 100; Captain Tliistleton, of the Putnam Rifles, added 30 men 
to his company; the howitzer corps at the Navy Yard numbered 100 
men; the Henderson Guards, consisting almost exclusively of residents 
of the First Ward, under Captain Foxwell, numbered 80 men; Captain 
Kelly's company added 22 men; Captain Patrick II. King, Company 
A, National Guard Battalion, had 70 men; and the National Rifles, to 
the number of 42, came forward and were mustered in. On April 
16, the Henderson Guards increased their number to 100; the Car- 
rington Home Guard, of Georgetown, was increased to the number of 
52; the President's Mounted Guard, Ca})tain S. W. Owen, nundjering 
about 80 men, tendered their services, which were not accepted, as 
cavalry was not then needed. The troops were placed at ditterent 
points in the vicinity of the city, the artillery on the heights and 
roads leading out of the city, and twenty-five cart loads of cartridges, 
grape shot, and other missives taken up the avenue to be placed near 
the cannoneers and other soldiers. On this same da}', Colonel E. E. 
Ellsworth left Washington for New York for the purpose of raising 
a regiment of Zouaves for the war, A call was made on the 18th of 
the month upon the members of the Association of the Soldiers 
of the War of 1812 of the District of Columbia to meet at the City 
Hall on the next Monday for the purpose of adopting a military 
organization and of offering their services to the Government for the 
defense of the city. On this same day, about five hundred men, con- 
sisting of infantry, artillery, and cavalry, were stationed at the Long 
Bridge, to repel any attempt of the rebels to cross the Potomac at that 
point. On the evening of the 18th, seventeen car loads of soldiers 
arrived in Washington from Ilarrisburg, Pennsylvania, and were 
quartered in rooms in the Capitol building, having passed through 
Baltimore about five o'clock the same day without molestation. These 
troops were the Washington Artillery Company and the National 


Light Infantry of Pottsville, the King-gold Liglit Artillery of Read- 
ing, tlie Logan (inards of Lcwiston, and the Allen Light Infantry of 
Allentown, in all five hundred and thirty men. During the entire 
day of the 18th, all avenues to tlie city were closely watched, cannon 
were i)laced on commanding heights so as to sweep the entire range 
of river front, ami the cannon were supported by infantry. Mayor 
Berrett on this day issued a proclamation exhorting all good citizens 
and sojourners to he careful to so conduct themselves as neither by 
word nor deed to give occasion for any breach of the peace. 

On April 0, a military department had been created consisting of 
Maryland and the District of Columbia, as originally bounded, called 
the Department of Washington, and placed under the command of 
Brevet-Colonel C. F. Smith. On the 10th, this department was \\\- 
creased so as to include Delaware and rennsylvania, and placed in 
command of Major-General Patterson, and Major-General Scott placed 
volunteer soldiers along the railroad from Wilmington, Delaware, to 
\Vashington, to guard the railroad and telegra[)h between the tw'^o 
points. April 22, a proposition was made by several citizens of 
Washington to form a light artillery company, the services of which 
were to be tendered to the Government. The ottice of this proposed 
organization was at 355 Pennsylvania Avenue, where books were open 
for signatures. Notice of the proposed movement was signed by 
L. Oppenheimer, Henry Meling, Johann Walter, Joseph A. Schell, 
Louis Landrock, August Bruehl, II. Diebeitsch, E. C. Randolph, 
William Geriske, Charles Werner, and Alexander McRee. This was 
afterward changed into a rifle company. By April 24, this company 
had over forty members, and was organized with the following 
officers: Captain, Thomas J. Williams; flrst lieutenant, E. C. Ran- 
dolph; second lieutenant, W. II. Standiford; third lieutenant, E. 
Hunt; orderly sergeant, Henry Kaluzowski; quartermaster sergeant, 
Charles Werner. The name chosen was " The Turner Rifles." 
On April 20, a meeting was held on Capitol Hill for the pur- 
pose of organizing a company of men who, from their age, were 
exempt from military duty. They were to aid in the defense of the 
National Capital. Martin King was chairman of the meeting, and 
Stephen G. Dodge secretary. The name selected was "The Silver 
Greys." By vote of those present Robert Brown was chosen captain. 
On the 22d, a number of French and Italian citizens held a meeting 
at the European Hotel, and resolved to form a company to be called 
"The Garibaldi Guards," and twenty-two members immediately en- 
rolled. On the same day, a meeting of the old soldiers of 1812 was 


held, Colonel John S. Williams taking the chair, and Kichard Burgess 
acting as secretary. A committee was appointed to prepare a program 
and report the next day at 4:00 p. m., consisting of Dr. William 
Jones, William A. Bradley, and Richard Burgess. At the adjourned 
meeting the hope was expressed that the time was not remote when 
tlie country would be again united; but in the meantime they held 
themselves in readiness to perform any duty to which they might be 
assigned by the Government of the United States for the protection 
of the city of Washington. They invited all persons exempt by law 
from military service to unite with them in otiering their services to 
the Government. The next day they tendered their services to the 
Secretary of War, which were accepted, and a written response prom- 
ised in a few days. On the 25th, another meeting was held and an 
organization was etfected as follows: Captain, John S. Williams; first 
lieutenant, Edward Semmes; second lieutenant, A. W. Worthington; 
third lieutenant, F. K. Dorsett; surgeon, Dr. William Jones; orderly 
sergeant, A. Baldwin. 

One of the incidents of the times was the arrest on the 25th of 
April of tive young men, who were captured in the act of carrying 
arms away from the city. The arrest was made by two members of 
the Metropolitan Rifles, named Bigley and Frazier. These two young 
men had watched the five enter the tavern of Christopher Boyle, 
and were suspicious that all was not right. At length the suspected 
characters rode away, in a wagon driven by a negro, toward Bladens- 
burg. The two 3'oung men followed them, and though they were 
armed with nothing more effective than brickbats, challenged them, 
took them itrisoners, and brought back to the city the entire outfit. By 
order of the Mayor they were taken to the guardhouse, and upon 
examination a bundle in the wagon was found to contain effective 
firearms. The names of the five men thus arrested were William 
Stanton, William Harding, Augustus Hand, William Eugerman, and 
Thomas Davis. Three of the five were quite heavily armed. 

Enlistments still went on, and by the 25th of April there were 
about ten thousand troo}ts in the city. The wounded of the Massa- 
chusetts Sixth, which had reached Washington on the evening of the 
19th, wlio were being taken care of at the infirmary, passed resolutions 
of thanks to the officers thereof, to the surgeons, and the Sisters of 
Mercy for their kindness and sympathy. On this day, the Seventh New 
York Regiment came into Washington and marched up Pennsylvania 
Avenue, making a magnificent appearance. They were received with 
the wildest demonstrations of delight by the citizens. On the 26th, 


a large body of troops arrived from Annapolis, consisting- of one-half 
of the Khode Island regiment, commanded by Governor Spragne, and 
the Butler Brigade of Massachusetts, numbering one thousand and four 
hundred men, and commanded by Colonel Benjamin F. Butler. Troops 
now daily arrived, and at this time there were fully seventeen thou- 
sand soldiers in the city. 

On April 27, the Seventy-lirst New York and the Fifth Pennsyl- 
vania regiments reached Washington. April 29, the Eighth Massa- 
chusetts came in, and in the afternoon of the same day the steamers 
Anacostia, Baltic, and Pocahontas arrived. The Baltic brought about 
six liundred Pennsylvania and Ohio troops. Abont this time treachery 
in the Navy Yard was discovered, a large cpiantity of bondjshells 
being found tilled with sawdust and sand. On A\)v\\ 30, the Twelfth 
New York Regiment came in, and the other half of the llhode Island 
regiment arrived in the steamer Bienville from New York, brino-iu«- 
with them an unusual quantity of supplies, and on their march 
through the streets displaying the infrerpient features of four rioan- 
dieres appropriately uniformed. It was said of this regiment, "For 
completeness of appointment in all respects, nothing can excel the 
Rhode Island regiment." 

The Twenty-lifth New York came in on the 30th of April, and 
the Sixty-ninth New York, the afterward famous Irish regiment, 
under Colonel Michael Corcoran. A notable event took place on 
the 2d of May, in the raising of a flag over the United States Patent 
Office in the presence of a large concourse of citizens. The Rhode 
Island regiment, which was cpiartered in that building and in com- 
mand of Governor Sprague, formed in line on Seventh Street. The 
Metropolitan Rifles, Captain Nalley, were on the roof of the portico, 
formed in line just behind the entablature, facing to the front. At 
the appointed time President Lincoln appeared on the roof, and 
hoisted the flag to the top of the statt', a stout hickory pole flfty feet 
high. On this day the Rhode Island artillery arrived in the city, 
having a battery of six pieces, and the Seventh New York took up 
its quarters at Camp Cameron on Meridian Hill. The Sixty-ninth 
New York w^ere quartered near the Georgetown college buildings. 
At this time the Government had six steamships running up and 
down the Potomac to protect merchant vessels plying upon it. On 
May 5, Sunday, the Twelfth New York Regiment was on parade on 
Pennsylvania Avenue, and afterward was drawn up in the form of a 
hollow square in front of the City Hall. In this position they 
listened to their chaplain read a chapter from St. Paul's Epistle to 


the Ivornans, after which the whole regiment joined in the singing 
of '^01(1 Ilnndred," accompanied bj the band. The Twenty-eightli 
Xew York arrived on the (Jtli, and the First and a portion of the 
Second ]!^ew Jersey. May 8, James A. Tait, Charles Everett, and 
Lemuel Towers were mustered into the United States service as 
lieutenant-colonels; P. U. King, A. Balbach, and J. McII. Ilollings- 
worth, as majors. Colonel Ellsworth's Zouaves were sworn into service 
on the 7tli, one thousand strong. The Fourth Pennsylvania, Colonel 
John F. Ilartranft, arrived on the 9th. 

The officers of the militia of the District of Columbia, commis- 
sioned by tlie President about this time, were as follows: Of the 
Cameron Guards — James Elder, captain; Thomas Mushaw, Oliver 
Birkhead, and John W. Glover, lieuteiumts. Company D, Union Regi- 
ment, — J. M. McClelland, captain; Alexander Tait, J. II. Dubant, and 
J. II. Posey, lieutenants. Potomac Light Guards — Robert Boyd, cap- 
tain; C. A. Oft'ut, W. II. Burch, and B. McGraw, lieutenants. Company 
E, National Guard Battalion, — William McCormey, third lieutenant. 
Artliur W. Fletcher, brigade quartermaster. John R. Dale, captain 
of the District of Columbia Riiies. National Guard, Company F — 
W. P. Ferguson, captain; J. T. Carroll, first lieutenant; W. Notting- 
ham, second lieutenant, and J. B. Davis, tliird lieutenant. Union 
Volunteers, Company F — James Fletcher, captain; Henry P. Duncan, 
first lieutenant; Isaac E. Owen, second lieutenant, and J. Clement 
Reynolds, third lieutenant. Washington Light Infantry — Colonel, 
Thomas A. Scott: Company A — Lemuel D. Williams, captain; C. II. 
Utterniehle, tirst lieutenant; Marvin P. Fisher, second lieutenant, and 
James Colemtm, third lieutenant. Sherman's celebi'atcd light artillei-y 
arrived May 9, commanded by Major T. W. Sherman, The District 
Ijrigade of volunteers, nundjering aljout three thousand and live 
hundred, wein; out on parade May 13, under command of Colonel 
Stone. This brigade was composed of eight battalions, commanded 
as follows: First Battalion, Major J. McII. Ilollingsworth ; Second 
Battalion, Lieutenant -Colonel Everett; Third Battalion, Major J. R. 
Smead; FcMirth Hattalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Towers; Fifth Battalion, 
Lientenant-CJolonel Tait; Sixth Battalion, Major J. Gre}' Jewell; 
Seventh Battalion, xMnjor P. II. King; Eighth Battalion, Captain 
Gerhardt. At their head in the parade was the President's Mounted 
Guai'd, Captain Owen. 

May 17, the volunteers of the District were mustered with the 
militia of the District, and field officers ap[)ointed to each. The com- 
plete organization was as follows: 


First Battalion, from Georgetown, — Major J. McH. Ilollings- 
wortli ; Company A, Anderson liiHes, Captain Rodier; Home Guards, 
Captain Goddard; Potomac Light Guard, Captain Boyd; Andrew 
Johnson Guards, Captain McBlair. 

Second Battalion — Major J. Gray Jewell; Henderson Guards, 
Captain Foxwell; Company A, Union Regiment, Captain Carrington; 
Company B, Captain Kelly; Company D, Captain McClelland; Com- 
pany E, Captain Call an. 

Third Battalion — Major J. R. Smead; National Rifles, Lieutenant 
Davis; Company F, Union Regiment, Captain . Fletcher; Slemmer 
Guards, Captain Knight; Cameron Guards, Captain Elder. 

Fourth Battalion — Lieutenant-Colonel Lemuel Towers; Company 
A, Washington Light Infantry, Captain Williams; Company E, 
Zouaves, Captain Powell; Washington Light Guard, Captain Marks; 
District Union Rifles, Captain Dale. 

Fifth Jjattalion — Lieutenant-Colonel Everett; Constitutional Guards, 
Captain Degges; Company A, Putnam Rifles, Captain Thistleton; Met- 
ropolitan Rifles, Captain Nalley; Jackson Guards, Captain McDermott; 
Company B, Putnam Rifles, Captain Grinnell. 

Sixth Battalion — Lieutenant-Colonel Tait; Company A, National 
Guard, Captain Lloyd; Company C, Captain McKim; Company E, 
Captain Morgan; Company F, Captain . 

Seventh Battalion — Major P. H. King; City Guards, Ca[)tain 
Clarke; Mechanics LTnion Rifles, Captain Rutherford; Company D, 
Washington Light Lifantry, Captain Cross; Company C, Union Regi- 
ment, Captain Miller. 

Eighth Battalion — Major A. Balbach; Washington Rifles, Captain 
Loeffler; Company A, Turner Rifles, Captain Gerhardt; Company B, 
Captain Kryzanowski. 

The Washington Zouaves, on Wednesday, May 15, dis})layed a 
handsome flag at their headquarters, in Thorn's building. They had 
then been on duty several weeks at the arsenal, at Long Bridge, and 
about the several departments. 

About that time, an incident occurred which attracted considerable 
attention in connection with the First New Jersey Regiment, encamped 
near Meridian Hill. A party of its soldiers called u[)on a Mrs. Baker, 
a widow, who kept a market garden near their camp, and asked her 
for some onions and other vegetables for one of their number who 
was sick. She freely complied with the request, and would take no 
pay. Next day the party returned, and made Mrs. Baker a present of 
a handsome Bible, which she accepted as of more value than money. 


thus bringing to memory the measure of meal of the widow of 
Zarephath, which, in consequence of her kindness to the wayfaring 
prophet, was never again allowed to be empty. 

General Benjamin F. Butler arrived in Washington May 16, and 
was waited upon at the National Hotel b}- numerous friends, and at 
night was serenaded by Withers's Band. The Eiglith New York was 
encamped at Camp Manstiold, on Kalorama Heights. A Hag was raised 
over the General Post OfKce May 22, in presence of a large assemblage 
of citizens. General St. John B, L. Skinner was chairman of tlic 
committee of arrangements, and made an address, stating that the tlag 
about to be raised was the conti'ibntion of the clerks of the Post 
Office Department. President Lincoln then, upon request, raised the 
flag. The Hartford Cornet Band played the "Star Spangled Banner," 
and addi'esses were made by Postmaster- General Blair, Secretary- 
Seward, and Secretar}' Smith. 

The night of May 23 was a beautiful one on the Potomac. The 
mo(»n shone briglitly and peacefull}' down, and perfect quiet prevailed 
all over the valleys and hills in the neighborhood of Washington. But 
a most important movement was Ijcgun that night. The troops in the 
city were ordered to occupy the heights in Virginia opposite Wash- 
ington. At eleven o'clock on the night of the 23d the Washington 
Light Lifantry, Company A, was posted some distance up Maryland 
Avenue from the Long Bridge. A squad of infantrj- was posted near 
the Washington Monument, to keep an eye on boats going out of the 
canal. Near the Long Bridge and on it were the infantrj^, a compau}- 
of Rhode Island soldiers, a company of United States cavalry, a 
companj' of United States artillery', the Putnam Rifles, the Turner 
Rifles, Metropolitan f-Jifles, Company F Union Volunteers, Company 
E Washington Light Infantry, and the Constitutional Guards, occupy- 
ing the Virginia end of the bridge. A short time after midnight 
Captain Powell's Zouaves and Captain Smead's company of National 
Rifles advanced across the bridge to the vicinity of Roach's Spring, 
and soon the Virginia pickets set spurs to their horses and made off 
for Alexandria. The Constitutional Guards, to the number of about 
eighty, were on duty on the bridge. Upon being asked by Colonel 
Stone, of the District Volunteers, if they would go beyond the Dis- 
trict of Columbia, they replied that they would go anywhere in 
defense of the Union. They w^ere therefore sent forward as far as 
Four Mile Run. The Virginia picket guard, stationed near Roach's 
Spring, ran away, and about an hour later the alarm bells were rung 
in Alexandria. 


Oil Friday niorniiig, the 24th, a large body of troops crossed tlie 
Potomac into Virginia. Ellsvvortli's Zouaves in two steamers left their 
camp on the Eastern Branch, making directly for Alexandria. The 
Michigan regiment, accompanied by a detachment of United States 
troops and two pieces of Sherman's battery, proceeded by the Long 
Bridge to Alexandria. The Seventh jSTew York was held under orders 
at Hughes's Tavern. The Second New Jersey was at Roach's Spring, 
one-half mile from the bridge. The New York Twenty- fifth, tlie 
Twelfth New York, and the Tiiird and Fourth New Jersey proceeded 
to occupy Arlington Ileiglits, joined by other troops which crossed 
over the Georgetown aqueduct. 

At 4:00 A. M., Ellsworth's Zouaves landed at Alexandria, and, 
though fired upon in landing by the few Virginia sentries posted in the 
town, which fire was returned by the Zouaves on the decks of the 
steamers, immediately on landing marched directly into the center of 
the town, meeting with no resistance. Reacliing the city fiagstafi" 
they hoisted an American fiag, and then perceiving a rebel flag fioatino- 
from the Marshall House, Colonel Ellsworth proceeded there with a 
squad of men and requested the proprietor, James Jackson, to take 
it down. This request not being complied with. Colonel Ellswortli 
went to the top of the house and hauled it down, and wra})ping it 
round his body started down the stairs. As he was descending, the 
proprietor, who had concealed himself in a dark passage, discharged 
the contents of one barrel of a double-barreled gun into his body, 
killing him instantly. Private Francis E. Brownell, of Colonel 
Ellsworth's Zouaves, instantly discharged the contents of his own 
musket into Jackson's brain and pierced his body with his bayonet 
as he fell, the other barrel of Jackson's gun going off as he fell. 
The news of the assassina.tion of Colonel Ellsworth reached the city 
at an early hour in the morning, and when it was confirmed all the 
fiags in the city were displayed at half-mast. The remains of 
the patriotic and brave Colonel were escorted to the Navy ^'ard by the 
steamer Mount Vernon., and the funeral occurred from the Executive 
Mansion at eleven o'clock the same morning, wdience the \)0(\y was 
taken to the railroad depot for conveyance to New York. 

Intrenching tools were conveyed over the river, and on Saturday, 
the 25th, the work of fortifying the city began in earnest on the 
Virginia side. One of the New Jersey regiments tlirew uj) fortifica- 
tions at the Junction of the Washington, Alexandria, and Columbia 
Turnpike, and another work of the same kind was commenced by 
another New Jersey regiment on the next height above, on the road 



towiird Alexandria. The Sixty-nintli lleginient was engaged in de- 
stroying conininnications between Alexandria and Leesbnrg, by the 
destruction of l)ridges, etc., on the Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad. 
The fortitications thus commenced on the 25th of May, 1861, subse- 
(|uently became of immense extent, and together with those on other 
sides of Washington, consisted of fortj^-eight works, mounting three 
hundred guns. The entire circumscribing }»erimeter of these fortifi- 
cations was about thirty-five miles in length.' 

To the National RiHes of Captain J. R. Smead is due the honor 
of first entering upon the sacred soil of the Old Dominion, crossing 
the Long Bridge at an early hour on the night of May 23, driving 
in the advance pickets of the rebels, and with other District troops 
holding the roads to Alexandria. Captain Powell's Zouaves were among 
the first, as were also the Metropolitan Rifies, under command, at the 
time, of Lieutenant Chauncey, and all were prompt and meritorious 
in the discliarge of their duty. 

At Fort Washington, on the Potomac, a few miles below Alex- 
andria, on the Maryland side of the river. Major llaskins was in 
eommand. The Ninth New York Regiment, whicli was the first 
regiment to ofier its services to the Government for three years, 
arrived in Washington May 28. J. W. Stiles was the colonel of this 
regiment. The Pifth Regiment, District of Colnmbia Militia, was 
mustered into the service Ma}' 29, Colonel W, IL Philip commanding. 
The several companies were comnuxnded by Captains S. B. Elliott, 
W. B. Webb, Hilton, Clark, French, Emory, Jillard, Bnrchell, and 
]\o]jinson. The regiment was four hundred strong, and was nuule up 
of citizens residing between Seventh and Seventeenth streets and 11 
and Boundary streets. 

May 30, the Sixty-ninth New York Regiment raised their flag at 

^ The^e forts and l^atteries thus erected for the defense of the Capital of the Nation 
were as follows, conimencinu at the south of Alexandria, then along the Virginia 
shore, crossing the Potomac above Georgetown, and extending north of the city and 
along the ridge east of the Anacostia down to the river o})posite Alexandria: Forts 
Willard, O'Hourke, Weed, Fai'usworth, and Lyon; Battery Kodgers; Forts Ellsworth, 
Williaiiis, Worth, Ward, Reynolds, (Taresche, l^)arnard, Berry, Kichardson, Craig, Scott, 
Alt)any, Kunyon, .Tackson, Tillinghast, Cass, Whipple, Woodbury, Morton, Strong, Cor- 
coran, Bennett, C. F. Smith, Ethan Allen, and ^larcy; two batteries near the distrib- 
uting reservoir; Batteries Cameron, Parrott, Kemble, Martin, Scott, Bailey, Vermont, 
Alexander, and Benson; Forts Sumner, Kerby, Cross, Davis, ^lanstield, Simmons, Bay- 
ard, and Reno; Battery Rossell ; Fort Kearney; Batteries Terrill and Smeade; Fort 
Dc Russcy; batteries Kingsbury and Sill; Forts Stevens, Slocum, Totten, Slemmer, 
Blinker Hill, Saratoga, Thayer, Lincoln, Mahan, Sliaplin, Meigs, Dupont, Davis, Baker, 
Wagner, Uickctts, Stanton, Snyder, Carroll, Greble, and Foote. 


Fort Corcoran, their new catnp at Arlington Heights. Colonel Hunter, 
of the Third United States Cavalry, who was assigned as commander of 
the Aqueduct Brigade, composed of the Fifth, Twenty-eighth, and 
Sixty-ninth Xew York regiments, made a speech on this occasion, as 
also did Captain Thomas F. Meagher. Mr. Savage's new national 
song was then sung by the author, the entire body of troops i)resent 
joining in the chorus. The New Jersey troops threw up intrench- 
ments at the Columbia Springs early in June, placing some thirt\'-two- 
pound cannon in position, as well as other artillery. The volunteer 
battalion near the chain bridge, two miles above Georgetown, was 
well fortitied, and had guns so mounted as to sweep the bridge and 
the Virginia shore in case of necessity. 

On the 9th of June, an important movement was made up the 
Potomac from Washington. The Rhode Island battery, under Colonel 
Burnside, was sent to join General Patterson at Chambersburg, and 
on the 10th Colonel Stone's command, consisting of the National 
Rifles under Mnjor Smead, the Slemmer Guards under Captain Knight, 

the Cameron Guards under Captain , Captain Magruder's battery 

of United States artillery, the First Pennsylvania, and the Ninth New 
York, and the First New Hampshire, moved up the Rockville road 
toward Edward's Ferry, about midway between Washington and 
Harper's Ferry. It was the only crossing for teams between the Dis- 
trict of Colundjia and the Point of Rocks, and was at that time a 
general thorouglifare for the transit of secessionists and military stores 
from Maryland into Virginia. The quota of the District in this 
movement was one thousand, and was promptly furnished to the 
Government by Washington and Georgetown. 

June 18, 1861, Professor T. S. C, Lowe made a number of ascen- 
sions in his balloon, taking, along a telegraph instrument connected by 
a wire with the White House. When the balloon was at its greatest 
elevation, about one-half mile, the following telegram was sent down: 

"Balloon Enterprise, Washington, D. C, June 18, 1861. 

" To the President of the United States: 

"This point of elevation commands an area of near fifty miles 
in diameter. The city, with its encampments, presents a sui)erb scene. 
I have pleasure in sending 3'ou this first dispatch from an aei-ial 
station, and in acknowledging indebtedness to your encouragement for 
the opportunity of demonstrating the availability of the science of 
aeronautics to the military service of the country. 

"T. S. C. Lowe." 


June 24, tlie Councils of Washington passed a l)ill appropriating 
$5,000 for the support of the families of the District of Columbia 
volunteers, paj'able out of the general fund. The first grand review 
of the Ami}- of the I'otomac occurred July 4, 1861. Major Jewell's 
battalion of District volunteers, after an arduous campaign of some 
weeks on the lino of the Potomac, returned to Washington on the 
morning of July 4. The same day, the Third Battalion of District 
Volunteers returned to Washington from Edward's Ferry, having 
rendered effective service to the Government. Regiments of troops 
continued to arrive in Washington in such numbers that any attempt 
to enumerate them would not be of interest. After the 4th of Julj', 
they passed over into Virginia in considerable numbers. On the 
morning of the 9tlj, two soldiers who liad l)een IdTled in a skirmish 
at Great Falls, named Riggs and Uhl, were buried from the armory 
in the new German cemetery near Glenwood. This appears to liave 
been the first burial of soldiers of the District of Columbia killed in 
defense of the Union. The term of service of the District vohmteers 
having expired, several of the companies were mustered out, July 
10, the companies thus mustered out being Company A, Union Regi- 
ment, Captain E. C. Carrington; Cam})any A, Washington Light 
Infantry; the Washington Zouaves; Company E, Washington Light 
Infantry; the Anderson Rifles, the Potomac Light Guard, the National 
Rifles, the Home Guards, and the Andrew Johnson Guards. 

July 10, 1801, Edward Thompson, a private soldier in the Watson 
Guards, died at tlie age of sixty-four years. The W^atson Guards were, 
at the time, under comnumd of Captain Callan. In 1814, he was at the 
battle of Bladensburg; in 1836—37, he was in the Florida war; in 1846- 
47, he served with the District of Columljia volunteers under Colonel 
Watson in the war with Mexico; and in April, 1801, he volunteered to 
defend the National Capital against the rebels, in the Watson Guards. 

Several regiments went over into Virginia, July 20, 1861. The 
l>attle of Manassas Juncti(^n, or the first battle of Bull Run, was 
fought on Sunday, July 21, commencing about 10:30 a. m,, and lastiiig 
until 4:00 p. m. The Instorj' of tliis battle is sufficiently well known 
not to need recital in this work, though it may not be out of place 
to note that for several days after it was fought, it was continuously- 
assei'ted to liave been the fault of non-combatants that tiicre was a 
rout and a stampede of the Union forces. General McDowell's 
official report, however, set the matter before the public in its true 
light. After the rout, many of the soldiei's nuulo tlieir way to Wash- 
ington as last as possible, and were ]»icked up and made comfortable 

. 1//A / /: / A' ) ■ IffS TOR } : 250 

by members of tbe National liiile.s, of the JJistriet vohiiiteers, in their 
tine armory in Temperance Hall. There were others that wandered 
about the streets, seeking slielter from the driving rain wliieh fell on 
the day after the battle, which fact — that is, the fact of the shower 
of rain — was seized upon by certain meteorologists to direct attention 
to their theory that rain always follows heavy cannonading. 

July 27, there was a fearful explosion at the Navy Yard, in tlie 
rocket house, wliich killed two men and wounded two others. Tlie 
killed were Francis C. Brown and John P. Ferguson, and the wounded 
William Martin and Nicholas Kay. 

A. Porter, colonel of the Sixteenth United States Infantry, was 
a[)pointed provost-marshal of the District of Columbia, August 1, 
1861. His General Order No, 1 was issued August 2, ordering all 
officers and enlisted men to remain in camp unless absent b}' per- 
mission; and all officers and soldiers were forbidden to be in the 
streets, at hotels, or at other places, after 9:00 p. m. 

Following are names of Washingtonians killed at tlie battles of 
Stone Bridge and Bull Run, July 18 and 21, in the First Pegiment 
Virginia Volunteers: Captain C. K. Sherman and Isidore Morris. 

August 6, the first company of Colonel Everett's new regiment of 
District of Columbia volunteers was mustered into the service, with 
Captain Knight in command. Captain Geary's company of cavalry 
was mustered in for three years, as were also the Everett's Guards 
about the same time, with Maurice Tucker captain, James R. Ilar- 
rover first lieutemmt, Jeremiah O'Leary second lieutenant, and George 
Augerton orderly sergeant. 

One of the important institutions of Washington pertaining to 
the war was the army bakery, located in the Capitol, in the exterior 
vaults. It was in control of Lieutenant Thomas J. Gate, of the 
Twelfth United States Artillery, who, upon the necessity for such an 
institution arising, offered his services to build the ovens. This work 
being performed be employed one hundred and seventy hands, divid- 
ing them into day and night squads. By this bakery- the soldiers 
were supplied with fresh and wholesome bread. In the employ of 
the bakery were twelve wagons, which were kept constantly goiny, 
loaded with bread, carrying out nearly sixty thousand loaves per day. 
Each loaf weighed twenty two ounces. In October, 1861, this bakerv 
was consuming one hundred and fifty barrels of flour per day. A 
yeast room was attached to the bakery, employing eight men. The 
ovens were large and well built, and each was cai)able of baking 
about four thousand three hundred loaves in twenty-four hours. 


Novenil)er 5, 18()1, the nuuisions of Seuutor Douglas, Sonutor Kice, 
and Mr. Corbin, known as Minnesota Row, were engaged for a military 
hospital, at an annual rental of $7,000. 

The Navy Yard was kept busy all the time during the war. 
December 1, 18(31, Captain Dahlgren, in charge, had at work under 
him eighteen hundred men. A number of ver^^ large anchors, weigh- 
ing from eight thousand pounds downward, were made there, as also 
many chain cables. 

The Second District Volunteer Regiment was mustered into the 
service of the United States for three years in February, 1862, and by 
the 20th of this month all of its companies but three were full. The 
regimental oliicers were as follows: Colonel, Isaac K. Peck; major, 
Charles Alexander; adjutant, C. M. Lienbeck; quartermaster, James 
P. Sanderson; surgeon. Dr. J. B. Keasby; assistant surgeon. Dr. L. C. 
Iloole, and chaplain. Rev. Mr. Lockwood. The captains of the several 
companies were as follows: Company A, Captain Garrett; Company 
B, Captain Dubant; Company C, Captain Drew; Company D, Captain 
Ditmarris; Company E, Captain Callan ; Company F, Ca[)tain Steele; 
Company G, Captain Stockbridgc; Company 11, Captain Blytliing; 
Company I, Captain Duncan; Company K, Captain Krousc. On May 
21, this regiment was presented with a handsome Hag, having in gold 
letters the following inscription: "President's Guard, Second Regi- 
ment District of Columbia Volunteers." The tlag was mounted on 
a staff bearing this inscription: "Presented to the President's Guard 
by the Ladies of Washington, May 21, 18G2."' The presentation speech 
was made by Major B. B. Frencli, and the response by Colonel Peck. 

At tlje beo-innine: of the year 1862, there were the followino^ 
numbers of soldiers in and around Washington, including the various 
armies as noted: At Fortress Monroe, under General Wool, 15,000 
men; south of Washington and partly on the Maryland side of the 
I\)tomac, General Hooker's division, including General Sickles's bri- 
gade, al)Out 10,000; soutliwest of the city was the mass of General 
McClellan's army, consisting of eight divisions, nearly 160,000 men, 
and other troops on the line of the Baltimore and Oliio Railroad 
toward Baltimore, making the grand aggregate nearly 200,000 men. 

The force designed for the special defense of Washington, while 
General McClellan was engaged on the Peninsula in front of Rich- 
mond, was described as follows, the forces being placed in command 
of Brigadier-General James Wadsworth, according to General McClel- 
hurs orders, dated April 1, 1862: "The garrisons in the forts around 
Washington amount to 10,000 men, other disposable troops now with 

}niJT.\Ry lUSTORY. 261 

General Wiidswortli being 11,400 men. The troops employed in 
guarding the various railroads in Maryland amounted to some 3,350 
men. These it was designed to relieve, they l^eing old regiments, with 
dismounted cavalry, and send them forward to Manassas. General Aber- 
crombie occupied Warrenton witli a force which, including General 
Geary's at White Plains and the cavalry to be at their disposal, 
amounted to 7,780 men, with twelve pieces of artillery. Besides these 
General McClellan requested that troops be sent to Manassas so as 
to make the command of General Abercrombie equal to 18,000 
men. Thus, to summarize, the troops designed for the defense of 
Washington were as follows: At Warrenton, 7,780 men; at Man- 
assas, 10,860 men; in the Shenandoah, 35,470 men; on the Lower 
Potomac, 1,350; in all, 55,460 men. In front of Washington there 
were to be left 18,000 men, exclusive of the batteries of artillery, 
which were as follows: Battery C, First New York Artillery, 2 guns; 
Battery K, First New York Artillery, 6 guns; Battery L, Second 
New York Artillery, 6 guns; Ninth New York Independent Battery, 
6 guns; Sixteenth New York Independent Battery, 6 guns; Battery 
A, Second Battalion, New York Artillery, 6 guns; Battery B, Second 
New^ York Artillery, 6 guns; total number of guns, 32. 

On August 6, a great war meeting was held in front of the Ca[)i- 
tol building. At 5:00 P. m., a salute of thirty-four guns w^as lircd and 
the bells of the city were rung. The Marine Band played at this place 
instead of its accustomed place. 'The President and his cabinet were in 
attendance. The Mayor of Washington presided, and Samuel E. Doug- 
lass was secretary of the committee of arrangements. The speakers 
were the Hon. George S. Boutwell, Commissioner of Internal Revenue; 
lion. Leonard Swett of Chicago, Hon. R. W. Thompson of Indiana, 
L. E. Chittenden, Register pf the Treasury; President Lincoln, General 
Shepley, Military Governor of Louisiana; Senator Harlan of Iowa, and 
General E. C. Carrington, United States District Attorney for the 
District of Columbia. The meeting lasted until 10:15 p. m. A series 
of resolutions was adopted, expressive of the sentiments of the meeting, 
regarding the dismemberment of the Union as an event not to be 
contemplated in any possible contingencj'; that the hesitation then 
nnmifested by loyal citizens was owing solely to their misgivings as 
to the prosecution of the war; urging the President to ado[)t effectual 
means of assuring the people that he w^as resolved to prosecute the 
war on a scale limited only by the resources of the country; that 
the measures adopted should be such as would bear with the most 
crushing weight upon those in rebellion, whether in arms or not; that 


the leaders of the Rebellion should be reg-arded as irreclaimable traitors, 
and either deprived of life or expelled from the country; that the 
National Capital was eminently the place where treason should l)e 
instantly denounced and punished, and that the most stringent meas- 
ures should be adopted by the proper authorities without delay to 
arrest the disloyal men and women within the District of Columbia; 
approving the act of Congress subjecting to confiscation the property 
of rebels, and declaring free such of their slaves as should take refuge 
within our lines; that the Federal Government should be sustained, 
no matter what administration was in power, and pledging to the 
President and his cabinet the most earnest, cordial, and determined 
support; and lastly, pledging themselves to make ample pecuniary pro- 
vision for the support of the families of such of the citizens of the 
District of Columbia as were in tlie military service of their country. 

The speech of the President was a noteworthy one, being uttered 
at a time when much criticism was being indulged in by friends of 
himself and those of General McClellan, for opposite reasons, and 
when there was dissatisfaction with the results of the campaign on 
the Peninsula. Omitting the mere introductory portion of the speech, 
the President said: 

''There has been a very widespread attempt to have a (j[uarrel 
between General McClellan and the Secretary of War. Now, I occupy 
a position that enables me to believe, at least, that these two gentle- 
men are not nearly so deep in the quarrel as some presuming to be 
their friends. General AlcClellan's attitude is such that in the very 
seltishness of nature he cannot but wish to succeed, and I hoi)e he 
will be successful. The Secretary of War is precisely in the same 
situation. If the military commander in the field cannot be success- 
ful, not only the Secretary of War, but myself, for the time being the 
master of them both, cannot but be failures. Sometimes we hear a 
dis[)ute about how many men McClellan has had. Those who would 
disparage him say that he has had a very large number, and those who 
would disparage the Secretary of War insist tliat General McClellan 
has had but a very small number. The basis for this is that there 
is always a wide ditterence between the grand total on McClellan's 
rolls and the men actually tit for duty; those who would disparage 
him talk of the grand total on [)a|ier, and those who would disparage 
the Secretary of War talk of those present and fit for duty. 

"General McClellan has sometimes asked for things that the 
Secretary of War could not give him. General McClellan is not to 
blame for asking for what he wanted and needed, and the Secretary 


of War i.s not to blame for not giving what he had not to give. And 
I say licre, that so far as I know, the Secretary of War has witliheld 
nothing from MeClellan without my ap[)roval, and I liavc with- 
held nothing at any time in my power to give. I have no accusation 
against him. I believe he is a brave and able man, and I stand here, 
as justice requires me to do, to take upon myself what has been 
charged upon the Secretary of War as withheld from him.'' 

The second battle of Bull Run was fought on the 29th, 30th, and 
31st of August, 1862, resulting, as is well known, in the serious defeat 
of the Union forces under General Pope. In consequence of the great 
losses to the Union army in wounded, there was great demand for 
surgeons and nurses to care for them, and a corresponding activity 
in the departments and among the people at Washington in response 
to the demand. Fully one thousand persons, employees of the Gov- 
ernment and others, assembled at the corner of Maryland Avenue and 
Eighth Street South at four o'clock in the afternoon of Saturday, the 
30th, expecting speedy transportation to the battlefield; but owing to 
the failure to notify the engineer of the train that civilians were to go 
on it, there was a delay of four hours in getting started. At length, 
however, at eight o'clock, the train got under way witli its load of 
humanitarians, to carry succor to the sick and wounded. After a ride 
of ten hours, they reached Fairfax Station, and then could proceed 
no further, except on foot, and on their own responsibility, the bridge 
over Bull Run having been destroyed by the rebels the night before; 
and then there was a march of fifteen miles before them if they went 
on. The few that did make the attempt to reach the battlefield were 
peremptorily ordered back; so all gave up and returned to Washing- 
ton. The next day, the medical director of the District, John 
Campbell, published a request that all who were willing to receive 
into their houses convalescent soldiers, in order to make room for 
wounded soldiers, would send their names to him, together with the 
number they could accommodate. The movement thus begun at 
Washington, to send surgeons and other assistance to the battlefields, 
instantly spread to all the larger cities of the Northern States, and 
packages of all kinds of clothing, etc., were forwarded therefrom in 
great abundance. 

On September 1, a consultation was held by the President, General 
Ilalleck, and General MeClellan, as to the defenses of the city, and a 
number of gunboats came up the Potomac, anchoring at different 
points off the city, so as to be ready in case of an attack upon the 
city, which was then with good reason apprehended. Quite a number 


of clerks fruui the departments went clown to the boat-landing at 
Sixth Street, to assist in transferring the wounded, about iifteen 
hundred of whom reached the c\iy that day. Carriages, wagons, 
omnibuses, and ambulances were all pressed into the service. The 
intiux of wounded after this battle made it necessary to convert every 
[tlace capable of use in this way into hospitals for the sick and 
wounded, the upper story of tlie Patent Office, tlie Capitol, and 
numerous other buildings being converted into hospitals. 

On September 2, General McClellan was placed in command of 
the fortifications of Washington and of all of the troops for its 
defense, and the pati'olmcn were all busy closing all retail liquor estal)- 
lishments. September o, the remains of Colonel Fletcher Webster, son 
of Hon. Daniel Webster, having been embalmed at Alexandria, were 
brought to Washington, as were also those of General Kearney. The 
entire army of General Pope, which commenced falling back from 
Centerville on Monday morning, September 1, reached its position in 
front of the fortifications on the south side of the Potomac on 
Tuesday night. General McClellan assuming command of this army, 
as also of General Burnside's. In consequence of the threatened 
danger to the city, the clerks in the several departments of the Gov- 
ernment were organized into military companies for the defense of the 
Capital. In the Interior Department a company was formed containing 
120 men, under Captain J. M. Edmonds. The Census clerks formed 
a company of 85 men; the Patent Office, one of 100 men. The Post 
Office em[»loyces made a company containing 87 active men, and 30 
reserves, with captain, R. K. Scott; first lieutenant, C. F. McDon- 
ald; second lieutenant, William II. Frazer. The Treasury Depart- 
ment also organized a company, but the War De})artment was too 
busy with its regular duties to give any attention to local military 
organizations. The employees of the Government Printing Office organ- 
ized a company containing about 170 men. The total number of 
omjtloyees of the Government thus organized into companies for the 
defense of the city was about 1,800 men. The National Rifles, about 80 
strong, tendered their services. Including this latter compau}' there 
were, by September 4, 18 companies organized, the Interior Depart- 
ment furnishing 8, the Treasury Department 5, the Printing Office 
2, the Coast Survey 1, the Post Office Dei»artment 1, and the 
National Rifles. On tlie same day, the One Hundred and Thirty-ninth 
Pennsylvania Regiment arrived in the city, and the One Hundred 
and Twenty-second New York and the Twentieth Michigan. The 
German Relief Association, organized to relieve and comfort the 


sick Jind wounded soldiers, performed unusnally acccptul^le service jit 
this time. The clerks of the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Auditors' 
divisions were organized on Wednesday evening, September 3, witli 
captain, D. H. Lusk, tirst lieutenant, A. J. Bentley, second lieutemmt, 
J. Ilackett. The stonecutters and laborers at work on the Capitol on 
the same day organized two companies, one company being officered 
as follows: Captain, Richard Morgan, first lieutenant, 11. Ellis, and 
second lieutenant, P. Fritz; tire other as follows: Captain, A. John- 
son, lirst lieutenant, A. Carroll, and second lieutenant, Joseph Sulli- 
van. Other employees at work on the building organized another 
company, with captain, C. F. Thomas, lirst lieutenant, C. Magruder, 
and second lieutenant, G. Miller. 

In consequence of the invasion of Maryland by the successful 
rebels, and the capture of Fredericksburg, a force of troops left 
Washington on Sunday, September 7, General McClellan following 
at 6:40 p. m.. General Banks being left in charge of the defense 
of Washington. On Saturday night, the troops had been placed 
under marching orders, and the new levies made the night air 
resound with their shouting and their cheers, while the old troops, 
having had considerable severe experience in actual warfare, were 
much more quiet. The great battle of August 17, at South Moun- 
tain, was one of the severest of the war, resulting in a victory for 
the Army of the Potomac. During the 18th, the tiring was not 
renewed. General McClellan having agreed to an armistice, proi)osed 
by the enemy, to bury tlie dead. After this great l)attle, the Sanitary 
Connuission was very active in sending supplies to the army. At this 
time there were the following hospitals in Washington for the care of 
the sick and wounded soldiers: 

Ascension Hospital, at the corner of II and Xinth streets; Armory 
Hospital, on Seventli Street, south of the canal; Baptist Hospital, 
Dr. Samson's, on Thirteenth Street, near G; Baptist Hospital, Rev. 
Mr. Kennard's, on E Street, near Sixth; Caspion's House, near the 
Capitol; Carver's House, near Boundary, between Seventh and Four- 
teenth; Capitol Hospital; Columbian Hospital, Columbian College, on 
Fourteenth Street; Cliffburnc Hospital, near Columbian College; Doug- 
las Hospital, at the corner of I and First streets; Ebenezer Hospital, on 
Fourth Street, near G; Eckington Hospital, near the Gales mansion; 
Emory Hospital, at the Sixth Cavalry Barracks, east of the Capitol; 
Epiphany Hospital, on G Street, between Thirteenth and Fourteenth 
streets; Finley Hospital, near the Eckington Hospital; Harewood 
Hospital, Corcoran's Place, near the tollgate; Judiciary Square Hos- 


pital; KiiloraiHu Hospital, Twenty-tirst Street and Kalorama Heights; 
Methodist IIos[»ital (Southern), Eiglith and I streets; Monnt Pleasant 
Hos[)ital, Fourteenth Street, near Cohnnhian College; Ninth Street 
Hospital, hetween G and H streets; Odd Fellows Hospital, Eighth 
Street East, near the Navy Yard; Patent Ofiice Hospital; Ryland 
Chapel Hospital, Tenth and D streets; Seminary Hospital, Gay and 
Washington streets, Georgetown; St. Elizabeth Hospital, Government 
Insane Asylum; Stone's Hospital, Fourteenth Street, east of the college; 
Trinity Church Hospital, Third and C streets; Union Chapel Hospital, 
Twentieth Street, near H; Union Hotel Hospital, Georgetown; Unitarian 
or Cranch Hospital, Sixth and D streets; St. Aloysius Hospital, near 
St. Aloysius Catholic Church. Besides these there were ten hospitals 
in Alexandria. 

It would be impossible to do more than justice to those who 
attended the sick, wounded, and dying soldiers in these hospitals. 
Ladies of every chiss in society, including the most refined, and 
members of families of foreign diplomats, all moved by a sympathy 
for suffering humanity common to all hearts, and as honorable as 
common, were constantly at work at the bedsides of those needing 
aid. The amount of good done in tliis way is inestimable. 

After the issuance of the Proclamation of September 22, 1862, a 
serenade was given the President on Wednesday evening, the 24th. 
In response, tlie President said: "I have not been distinctly informed 
why it is that on this occasion you appear to do me this honor. I 
sup}tose — ["It is because of the })roclamation! ''] — I was about to say 
I suppose I understand it. What I did I did after very full delibera- 
tion, and under a very heavy and solemn sense of responsibility. I 
can only trust in God that I made no mistake."' Secretary Chase, 
Cassius M. Clay, and Attorney-General Bates were also visited and 
serenaded, and all made speeches approving of the proclamation. 

The First Regiment, District of Columbia V^olunteers, in October, 
1862, were sent to Alexandria to act as provost guard, Colonel Tait 
relieving General Slough as military governor of the city of Alex- 
andria. This regiment had been in the severe campaigns of Banks 
and Pope, but notwithstanding this fact had at this time nearly 
five hundred men in ranks fit for duty, and only twenty-five absent 
without leave. The Second District of Columbia Regiment was for 
some time previous to October 31 engaged in duty on the Upper 
Potomac, but was relieved about this time, and came to the city. 

Island Hall Hospital was established at the corner of Sixth Street 
and Virginia Avenue about November 1, and was under the care of 


Surgeons Hayes and tScliciK-k. LTp to January 1, 18G3, bounties were 
given to sucli persons as sliould enlist in the District of Columbia 
regiments, l)ut at that time this practice was abandoned, because very 
few of the inhabitants availed themselves of the bount}-, and because 
most of the enlistments were by parties from al)road, who in some 
instances were deserters from other regiments. At the close of the 
year 18G2, there were about fourteen thousand sick and wounded 
soUliers in the hospitals in Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria. 
l]ut notwithstanding there were so many, there was sufficient room 
for all in the regular hospitals, and the Fourth Presbyterian Church, 
the Church of the Ascension, and the Methodist Episcopal Church 
South were vacated, when all the churches were vacated which had 
been in use by the Government for this purpose. On February 18, 
1863, Lieutenant-Colonel W. E. Doster was relieved at his own request 
as provost-marshal of the District of Columbia, and Captain Henry 
B. Todd, of the First New York Cavalry, appointed in his stead, 

March 31, 1863, a. great war meeting was held in both halls of 
Congress, under the auspices of the two boards of the city Council. 
Mayor Richard Wallach presided in the hall of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, and Lewis Clephane and Alexander R. Shepherd in the hall 
of the Senate, the former during the tirst part of tlie meeting, and 
the latter during the latter part. In the House of Representatives, 
Ex-Governor Bebb, of Ohio, submitted a series of resolutions strongly 
in favor of fighting the war to a successful termination, and quoting 
John Bright, as to the destiny of the Republic, as follows: 

"We cannot believe that civilization, in its journey with the sun, 
will sink into endless night, to gratify the ambition of the leaders of 
this revolt, who seek to 'wade through slaughter to a throne,' and 
'shut tlie gates of mercy on mankind.' We have another and far 
brighter vision before our eyes. Through the thick gloom of the 
present we see the brightness of the future as the sun in the heavens. 
We see one vast confederation, stretching from the frozen North in 
one unbroken line to the glowing South, and from the wild billows 
of the storm}' Atlantic to the calmer waters of the Pacitic main; and 
we see one people, one law, one language, and one religion, and over 
all this wide continent the home of freedom and a refuge for the op- 
pressed of every race." 

Alderman Sargent then offered a resolution to the effect that 
there were two classes of people in this city, the loyal and the 
disloyal; and "that we owe it to ourselves to ferret out the disloyal 
and send them to their friends in Richmond." All the resolutions 


were unanimously adopted. lion. Green Adams then addressed the 
meeting, as did also Admiral Foote, Chief Justice D. K, Cartter, Hon. 
Horace Maynard, Hon. Andrew Johnson, and General E. C. Carring- 
ton. In the Senate chamber Ex-Governor Bebb oifered the same 
series of resolutions ottered in the House of Iie[)resentatives, and 
speeches were made by General Martindale, then Military Governor 
of the District of Columbia, Admiral Foote, Rev. Mr. Phillips of New 
York, L. E. Chittenden, Register of the Treasury, L. A. Whitely of 
Maryland, Horace Maynard, Governor Bashford of Wisconsin, and 
Dr. Daily of Indiana. 

In June, 1803, in consequence of reduction in the size of its com- 
panies, the First District Regiment was consolidated into a battalion 
of four companies. Upon this consolidation the otiicers mustered out 
were: Colonel James A. Tait; Captains II. M. Knight, James Cole- 
man, James Fisher, P. E. Rodier, and Joseph Mundell; First Lieu- 
tenants C. P. Wroe, R. W. Barnaclo, C. T. Barrett, and Joseph Ven- 
able; Second Lieutenants Jerome Callahan, P. McChesney, W. E. 
Morgan, and Edward Carroll. Those retained were: Lieutenant-Col- 
onel Lemuel Towers, and statf ofHcers; Captains E. S. Allen, Robert 
Boyd, Robert Clark, and M. P. Fisher; First Lieutenants John Donn, 
B. F. McGrew, C. W. Sherwood, and W. W. Winship; Second Lieu- 
tenants William Young, Walter Dobson, J. W. Atwell, and D. F. 

Toward the latter part of this month, when it was learned that 
the rebel General Lee was marching northward into Pennsylvania, 
orders were issued by Provost-Marshal-General James B. Fry to 
Major-Genend George C. Thomas, then in command of the District 
of Columbia militia, that eight regiments of the militia infantrj" of 
the District be called into immediate service for sixty days, and pro- 
viding that if the volunteer cavalry and infantry of the District 
should tender their services they would be accepted. Major-General 
Thomas thereupon issued the orders necessary for calling out and 
enrolling tlie eight regiments. On the morning of July 0, the various 
regiments composing the District militia assembled on their parade 
grounds, and were informed that as General Lee had been defeated 
at the great battle of Gettysburg, and was compelled to retreat back 
into Virginia, their services would not be needed. On Tuesday, July 
7, there was great rejoicing in Washington over the victories of 
General Meade in Pennsylvania, of General Grant at Vicksburg, and 
of General Rosecrans in Tennessee. A large number of citizens of 
Washington, headed by the band of the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts 

MirJT. \R y IIISTOR Y. 209 

Regiment, marched to the Executive Mansion and serenaded tlie 
President, wlio made to them a speech, paying glowing tribute to 
the brave men in tlie armies, but declining to mention any soldier by 
name, for fear of omitting some who were equally meritorious with 
those whom he might name, should he name any of them. Secretary 
Stanton and General Ilalleck, and also Senators Wilson, Wilkinson, 
and Lane, and lions. E. ^. Washburn, Isaac Arnold, and General 
Martindale, nuide speeches. 

Under the President's call for 500,000 men, July 18, 18G4, there 
was a draft in the District of Columbia for her quota. The District 
was divided into twelve districts, of whicli each of the seven wards 
of the city of Washington was one; that part of Georgetown east of 
High Street was the eighth; that part west of High Street the ninth; 
that |)art of the county west of Hock Creek the tenth; that part 
between Rock Creek and the Eastern Brancli the eleventh, and that 
part south and east of the Eastern Branch the twelfth. Captain 
Sheetz, wlio was provost-marshal under the Conscription Act, made a 
return of the names enrolled for the first class toward tlie latter part 
of July, as follows: First Ward of Washington, 4,000; Second Ward, 
2,500; Third Ward, 2,000; Fourth Ward, 3,000; Fifth Ward, 1,700; 
Sixth Ward, 1,200; Seventh Ward, 2,400; eighth district, 800; ninth 
district, 700; tenth district, 400; eleventli district, 500; twelfth district, 
300; total, nearly 20,000; or, to be exact, 19,327; of which number 
there were 14,242 whites, and 5,085 blacks. The apportionment of 
the District was 3,865, to which was added fifty per cent, to allow a 
margin for exemptions; or, in all, 5,798. The draft commenced on 
Monday, August 3, with the First Ward. The number to be drawn 
from each subdistrict was as follows: First Ward, 1,180; Second 
Ward, 741; Third Ward,. 607; Fourth Ward, 896; Fifth Ward, 513; 
Sixth Ward, 337; Seventh Ward, 719; eighth district, 239; ninth 
district, 216; tenth district, 116; eleventh district, 155, and twelfth 
district, 79; total, 5,798. The drawing commenced at 9:00 a. m., a 
blind man named Thomas C, Burns drawing the names from the box. 
The drawing for the First Ward closed at 2:00 p. m. Of the persons 
drawn, 874 were white and 306 black. The drawing for the Second 
Ward was completed the same day, and of the number drawn 494 
were white and 247 black. The drawing for the Third Ward came 
off on the 4th, resulting in 502 whites being drawn, and 105 blacks. 
There were drawn in the Fourth Ward 736 whites and 160 blacks; in 
the Fifth Ward, 344 whites and 169 blacks; in the Sixth Ward, 286 
whites and 51 blacks; in the Seventh Ward, 684 whites and 235 blacks; 


ill the eig'htli and ninth districts, 390 whites and 65 blacks, and in the 
rest of tlie county 350 persons in all. The board of enrollment met 
on August 10, to hear applications for exemptions. 

The result of the draft in the District of Columbia was reached 
September 30, the work of the l)oard of enrollment closing on that 
evening. This result was as follows: Total number drawn, 5,784; 
quota, 3,863; number of drafted men who reported, 4,115; number 
failing to report, 1,679; number accepted, 285; number of substitutes, 
675; number paying commutation, 212; number exempted, 2,943. Of 
the number of soldiers obtained by means of the draft (960), there 
were 336 negroes. 

In October, the President called for another 300,000 men. Under 
this call the District of Columbia, with the rest of the country, was 
called on for its quota. On ]^ovember 6, there was a meeting at the 
City Hall, preliminary to a large mass meeting which was held August 
6, for the purpose of aiding enlistments, so that if possible there 
miglit be no necessity for another draft. The quota of the District 
under this call was 2,730 — from Washington and the county, 2,516, and 
from Georgetown, 214. At this meeting a committee was appointed 
to solicit funds with wbicli to assist the families of soldiers of the 
District serving in any of the armies of the Union. The committee 
consisted of B. B. French, Henry Addison, Richard Wallacli, Samuel 
E. Douglass, George H. Plant, Hudson Taylor, Frank Taylor, John 
M. Brodhead, George R. Wilson, John II. Senimes, E. J. Middleton, 
William B. Todd, William J. Murtagh, Joseph F. Brown, Judson 
Mitchell, William II. Tenney, John Marbury, Jr., George W. Beall, 
and Henry D. Cooke, The subscriptions very quickly amounted to 
-^20,745, $18,726 of which was distributed among the families of the 
soldiers, the rest, $2,019, being retained to commence operations for 
the winter. 

On July 24, 1863, Judge Wylie, of the Supreme Court of the 
District of Columbia, made a decision under the Confiscation Act 
with reference to the })roperty of Dr. A. Y. P. Garnett, which was 
before the Court for condemnation, and which w^as the lirst case 
ai'gued before the Court. The Judge, in making his decision, said 
that it was a most important case. The conliscation did not, as 
was generally supposed, treat the inhabitants of the so-called Con- 
federate States as traitors, Ijut as alien enemies, and in tiiat point 
of view their property of every description was liable to absolute 
forfeiture and alienation to the use of the Government. There was 
no distinction between real estate and }»ersonal propertj'. Nor did the 


Constitutioii forbid this uhsoluto Ibrf'eituro of real estate. But the 
joint resolution of Congress, passed on tlie same day as tlie Confisca- 
tion Act, under the provisions of which the property in question was 
sought to l)e confiscated, was a dechiration by them tliat, in a spirit 
of kindness, they would confiscate the real estate of rebel owners 
only during their lifetime. The Judge was, he said, bound by tlie 
Joint resolution, and therefore he condemned the real estate only 
during the lifetime of the owner, and the personjil estate absolutely. 
Judge Wylie referred to a number of authorities, among them the 
legislatures of Maryland and Pennsylvania, confiscating absolutely 
the property of Americans who remained loyal to England during 
the Revolutionary War. 

The decree of condemnation was tlien ordered iigainst the property 
of Thomas D. Allen, Francis Hanna, E. A. Pollard, Charles S. Wal- 
lach, Cornelius P>oyle, French Forrest, J. 1^. iMafiit, C. W. C. Dun- 
nington, Martin L. Smith, Daniel and Mary F. Radclifi'e, E. M. Clark, 
Samuel Lee, Henry 13. Tyler, William F. Phillips, C. W. Ilavenner, 
Lavinia Boyle, and Samuel L. Lewis. 

In August, 1863, the marshal of the District of Columbia, by 
direction of the attorney for the District, made seizure of the follow- 
ing property : 

Two two-story frame houses of Craven Ashford, formerly a justice 
of the i)eace in Washington, but then in the South; lots 1 to 12, 
inclusive, of George S. Houston, formerly a member of Congress from 
Alabama, and of Governor Letcher, of Virginia, on Capitol Hill; lot 
improved by a four-story dwelling, on E Street, between Second jind 
Third streets, northwest, in the name of W. IL Thomas, tlien in the 
Confederate Army; lot at the corner of V^ermont Avenue and Iv 
Street, improved by a tworstory house, in the luime of H. 11. Lewis, 
of Virginia; lot near the corner of the canal and South Capitol 
Street, in the name of Oscar R. Hough, formerly of the National 
Rifles, but then connected with the provost-marshal's office at Rich- 
mond; subdivision of lots near the Baltimore and Ohio Depot, and 
several lots on South Capitol Street, near N Street, used as a brick 
yard, in the name of David A. Windsor. While there was consider- 
able other property confiscated, yet it is probable that enough detail 
has been here given. 

The Ladies' Relief Association, for the relief of the soldiers of 
the District of Columbia, held a meeting December 21, 1863, at the 
residence of Hon. Sayles J. Bowen, to elect officers. Major B. B. 
French was chosen president, Ilenr}' D. Cooke vice-president, Selah 


Squires secretary, and Mrs. L. E. Chittenden treasurer. A committee 
of arrangements for a fair, which was then in contemplation, was 
appointed, consisting of four gentlemen and seven ladies; also, an 
executive committee, a finance committee, a committee for eacli ward, 
as well as a committee for Georgetown, a committee at large, 
and a committee for each of the twenty-three of the loyal 
States. The great hall of the north front of the Patent Office was 
offered b}' Hon. J. P. Usher, and accepted by the association, for the 
pur[)Oses of the fair. The ladies of the association made application 
to the proprietor of Canterbury Hall for assistance in this work, and 
in response to this appeal Mr. William E. Sinn offered either $25 in 
money or a benefit at his establishment, the ladies clioosing the latter, 
to be given January 8, 1864. Jay Cooke & Company, bankers in 
Washington, donated |1,000 toward the objects of the fair. January 
18, a committee, on behalf of the association, requested Mr. Leonard 
Grover, proprietor of the ISTew National Theater, to give a benefit, 
with which request Mr. Grover complied, fixing upon January 23 as 
the date for the benefit, which netted to the association $437.15. On 
the 22d of the same month, a benefit performance was given at the 
Variety Theater, on Pennsylvania Avenue and Ninth Street, of which 
Messrs. Ilamblin & Company were the proprietors. The fair opened in 
the Patent Office building February 22, 1864, upward of one thousand 
tickets being disposed of at the door that evening, a large number 
having been sold throughout the District during the preceding three 
^^■eeks. Contributions to the fair came from many of the loyal States, 
as well as from the District of Columbia. This fair yielded a net sum 
of $12,721.35, and from individual subscriptions and from other sources 
there was received the sum of $2,588.69, making $15,310.04. To this 
sum there was added the $2,027.25 mentioned above as being left over 
from other subscriptions, making a fund of $17,337.29, available for 
the relief of the families of soldiers of the District. 

There was another fund, of which John II. Semraes was the 
treasurer, named the Volunteer Fund. By December 31, 1863, this 
fund amounted to $3,597.50, and Mr. Semmes had paid out for bounties 
the sum of $4,800; for premiums, $480; for recruiting expenses, 
$130.72; in all, $5,410.72, and was creditor to the fund to the amount 
of $1,813.22. By February 17, 1864, Mr. Semmes reported that there 
had been obtained 404 recruits, exclusive of the 300 obtained by Cap- 
tain Sheetz. All that was needed, he said, to enable the District to 
avoid the draft, was money. On March 7, Mr. Semmes reported that 
the amount of monev received into this fund was $53,938; the 


amount expended — $47,000 for bounties; for premiums, $5,865; for 
printing, $516; total amount expended, $53,381. The whole number 
of recruits up to March 5 was 598, costing on the average $89.16 
each. By the 16th of that month 99 more recruits had been obtained, 
and at tlie same time about 150 soldiers of the First District Regiment 
had reenlisted, and about 600 of the Second District Regiment. The 
quota of the District under the call that was then being complied 
with was 820, and by May 1, 1864, Mr. Semmes reported that 893 
had been obtained, 73 more than enough. 

In July, 1864, when General Grant was besieging Petersburg, a 
diversion was made by General Lee, in the hope of directing Grant's 
attention to the safety of the city of Washington, by sending General 
Early on a raid into Maryland with about twenty thousand men, and 
tnenacing Washington from the north. On July 7, there was a battle 
at Frederick, Maryland, and on the lOtli there was a great battle at 
the Monocacy, lasting from nine o'clock in the morning until 5:00 
p. M. In the evening of this same day, a body of rebels made a dash 
through Rockville, and on Monday morning there was a skirmish 
between them and Colonel Lowell's cavalry force in the vicinity of 
Rabbitt's Creek Post Otiice, between Rock Creek and Tennallytown. 
About noon on Monday, the rebels were in the vicinity of the Claggett 
farm, on the Seventh Street turnpike, and the residence of Francis 
P. Blair. In consequence of what appeared to be, on the part of 
the rebels, a determination to make an attack upon Washington, the 
District militia was called out on the 11th for sixty days by Major- 
General George C. Thomas, the details of their organization being- 
placed in the hands of Brigadier-General Peter F. Bacon. On the 
12th, the rebels destroyed communication by both rail and telegraph 
between Washington and Baltimore. In the vicinity of Fort Stevens, 
former!}' Fort Massachusetts, out on Seventh Street, there was a 
skirmish between the rebel and Union forces, and some houses which 
the former had used for protection in firing upon the fort were 
destroyed by the latter. The houses thus burnt belonged to Richard 
Butts, W. Bell, J. II. McChesney, Abner Shoemaker, and W. M. Mor- 
rison. On Tuesday, the 12th, there was some skirmishing between 
Fort Stevens and Fort De Russy, in the Widovv Carberry's woods, but 
on the 13th the Michigan infantry threw a few shells into the woods, 
when the rebels worked around to the right, making an attempt to 
get in between Fort Stevens and Fort Slocum. The Confederate forces 
in front were those of General Rhoad, General Ramser, and General 
Gordon, all under the command of General John C. Breckinridge. 


Laui-cl Bridge was destroyed b}' the rebels. On account of the near 
approacli to Washing-ton of the rebel forces, and its apparent danger, 
the Union Leagues of the city tendered their services to General 
Halleck for its defense, and these were accepted, Major- General 
Doubleday being assigned to the command. The jS'ational Rifles also 
ottered their services. On Tuesday evening. General McCook deter- 
mined to dislodge the rebel sharpshooters at the Carberry place, and 
especially from the house of Mr. Lay, on Rock Creek, to the left of 
Fort Stevens. A shell was sent out from the fort which exploded in 
the house, throwing the brick and woodwork in all directions, and 
setting tire to the house, causing the rebels to retreat,. A charge was 
then made by the Sixth Corps, and the rebels retired a mile or 
more, the Union line advancing beyond the house of Francis P. Blair. 
The loss of the Union forces in this charge was about three hundred 
in killed and wounded, and the rebels left one hundred wounded at 
the house of Mr. Blair. 

While the volunteers and militia of the District in considerable 
numliers were mustered into the service on Wednesday, the 13th, yet 
there were not enough of them to warrant the Government in accept- 
ing their services; but the clerks in the various departments appeared 
in such strength that they were taken into the service, and the 
National RiHes were mustered in as an independent company. The 
Union Leagues were represented by several well-tilled companies, and 
were mustered in. The Navy Yard employees formed a regiment 
about eight hundred strong. But notwithstanding the readiness of 
■ these forces to defend the city, they were all mustered out on Wednes- 
day evening, after serving one da}', the enemy having retired from 
the vicinity of the city. On their way out, however, they burned the 
country seat of Postmaster-General Blair and ritled that of his father, 
Francis P. Blair. After the danger had passed and there was time to 
reliect upon the conduct of the citizens and of the volunteers and 
militia of the District, Major-General George C. Thomas pul>lished a 
card, thanking Colonel W. W. Daniels, of Louisiana, and James 
C. Welling, s". A. Peugh, J. IL Leavenworth, C. S. Noyes, Tyler 
Southall, Charles H. Arnies, Captain John B. Tanner, Charles W. 
Morris, IL A. Goldsborough, Colonel Lemuel Towers, Lieutenant 
S. S. Bach, Charles W. Boteler, Jr., B. B. French, Jr., Selden Hetzel, 
Alpheus N. Brown, and several officers of the Seventy-tirst New 
York Yolunteers. 

Under tiie call of the President, of July 18, 1864, for 500,000 
men, the ([uota of the District of C()luml)ia was 2,910. For the 

MfrjT.iRY rifsroRY. 


purpose ot" raising the quota Mayor Walhicli a[)[)oiiitu(l as recruitini:; 
agents, Arthur Shepherd for Eastern Virginia, George T. Finnegan 
for North Carolina, William Finley for Mississippi, C. E. Green for 
Georgia and Alabama, and George H. Mitchell for South Carolina 
and Florida. Applicants for substitutes were required to leave their 
names and $300 at the Bank of Washington. The provost-marshal 
at the time was Captain J. C. Putnam. From advance enlistments 
the quota of 2,910 Avas reduced to 2,225, and this latter number was 
divided amons: the several districts as follows: 

First Ward 

Second AVard 

Third Ward 

Fourth Ward 

Fifth Ward 

Sixth Ward 

Seventh Ward 

Georgetown, Eiglitli and Ninth Districts 

Giesboro, Tenth District 

P^leveuth District 

Twelfth District : 

























2 225 

At the time the draft commenced, to fill this quota, the District 
had received a credit of one thousand seven hundred and eighty-four, 
leaving a deficiency of one thousand one hundred and twenty-six to 
be made good by the draft, which began on September 19. On tljc 
26th of the month, the Councils of the city passed an act authorizing 
the Mayor to anticipate the revenue of the corporation to an amount 
not exceeding |50,000, to enable the corporation to i)ay bounties to 
volunteers, and to purchase substitutes for those who had been or 
might be drafted, the money to be paid out only to such bona fide 
residents of Washington as were registered as voters on the 31st of 
December, 1863. The draft w^as [closed in Washington September 30, 


aiul ill Georgetown, October 1, 1864; but as many of tlie men drafted 
did not report, the number required was not forthcoming. An effort 
was then made by many of the prominent citizens to have the quota 
reduced because of the alleged fact that a large number of persons 
in the employ of the General Government had been enrolled as citi- 
zens of the District who were but temporarily resident therein, and 
that by this means the enrollment of the District was greatly increased 
beyond what it should be. Provost-Marshal-General Fry, however, 
declined to make the desired reduction. 

Under the call of the President for 300,000 men, December 19, 
1864, the quota of the District was 3,019, apportioned among the 
several districts as follows: First Ward, 575; Second Ward, 348; 
Third Ward, 111; Fourth Ward, 490; Fifth Ward, 213; Sixth Ward, 
224; Seventh Ward, 355; eighth district, 71; ninth district, 105; tenth 
district, 24; eleventh district, 219; twelfth district, 284. While there 
w^as a general conviction that this quota was excessive, strengthened 
when taking into account the fact that under the former call for 
500,000 the quota was only 2,910, yet there was manifested on the 
part of the people a determination to see that the quota was tilled, 
while at the same time there was a determination to secure, if 
possible, a correction of the list. Meetings were held in all the 
districts for both purposes, and at length a reduction was secured in 
the quota, so tliat the number required was only 2,222. Lieutenant 
Knox was, at that time, commissioner of the board of enrollment, but 
on February 13 he was succeeded by the appointment of 11. A. Jones, 
in order that there might be a permanent officer in this position. The 
draft for the tilling of the quota of the District under the call for 
300,000 began February 21, 1865. But this draft was not completed, 
as, before sufficient time had elapsed for this, it became so clearly 
evident tliat the Rebellion could not last, that etibrts were relaxed. 

On Monday, April 3, 1865, the joyful news reached the Capital 
that both Petersburg and Richmond had been evacuated by General 
Lee, who was in full retreat. It would be impossible to adequately 
describe the feelings of the people of this city wdien this news flashed 
over the telegraphic wires. No such attempt will therefore be made. 
All were fully conscious that the war which had devastated the 
country for four years was at lasi near its close. The religiously 
inclined gave "Thanks to God, who giveth us the victory," and that 
victory which had Ijecn long hoped for and impatiently waited for 
was to emancipate not only those to whom the Proclamation of 
Emancipation a[.plied, but also all the rest of tlie black race, and 


many loyal and Union loving people of the Sontliern States, from a 
military despotism siicb as the world had never seen, as well as from 
the despotism of political errors as powerful and cruel in its influence 
on the public mind as the military despotism had been on the persons 
of the Southern people, many of whom, if not the majority, never 
wanted war. In the streets of Washington all men, young and old, 
greeted each other most ardently; ladies Hung to the wnnds their 
miniature Hags, and the judges of the courts deserted the hall of 
justice, satisfied that for a time at least the blind goddess would not 
note their absence. The public schools dismissed their scholars, busi- 
ness was deserted on all hands, and all repaired to the vicinity of the 
public buildings to acquire a fuller knowledge of the incidents of 
the three days' terrible fighting which immediately preceded the fall 
of the two cities, the fate of which had so long been linked together. 
A scene of wild excitement was presented at the Patent Office when 
the news of the fall of Petersburg was received, and a few- hours 
later, when the news of the fall of Richmond came, it was evident 
everywhere that a great weight of anxiety had been lifted from the 
public mind. Patriotic exercises were immediately extemporized in 
the open air in front of the Patent Office building. A gentleman 
named Thompson began to sing "Rally Round the Flag," the crowd 
joining in the chorus. Mr. Hollo way, Commissioner of Patents, then 
addressed the assemblage, and was followed by Hon. J. P. Usher, wdio 
alluded to the evacuation, when some one in the crowd suggested that 
the Interior Department be evacuated, and at once the entire crowd 
took up its line of march for the Department of State, where they 
were felicitousl}- addressed by the Secretary of State, who still pre- 
dicted, as he had continued to do from the beginning, that the war 
would end in ninety days. The Hon. Preston King, Hon. J. W. Nye, 
and others spoke after the Secretary, and at length came the turn 
of the Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, whose remarks were characterized 
by a deep feeling of patriotism and religion. At the close of his 
remarks he presented to the assemblage the boy Willie Kettles, four- 
teen years old, an operator in the military telegraph office, who 
had received the dispatch announcing the fall of Richmond at 8:15 
A. M. that morning, April 3. From the residence of Francis P. Blair, 
Vice-President Andrew Johnson made an eloquent s[)eech, and from 
the balconies of all the hotels poured forth a chorus of patriotic 
music and oratory. Hon. Richard Yates spoke from the steps of the 
National Hotel and Major-General Butler from in front of Willard's. 
General Butler said that the God of Justice works by means, and 


perhaps there couhl be tbmul in history no more striking und sngges- 
tive instance of retribution than that of tiie corps of colored troops 
under General Weitzel being the tirst to enter Riciimond after its 
fall, and the planting of the iiag of freedom by them over tiie rebel 
capital. Four regiments of the Veteran Reserve Corps and two 
squadrons of cavalry, accompanied by a tine band of music, paraded 
the princi[»al streets of the city. The northern portico of the War 
De[>artment building was tastefully decorated with Hags, and the 
Veteran Regiment band played patriotic airs at the Circle. A salute 
of eio;ht hundred guns was fired near Franklin Square — five hundred 
for Richmond and three hundred for Petersburg, and the city in all 
directions was decorated with the Union banner. None rejoiced more 
sincerely than the sick and wounded soldiers in the hospitals. Work 
was generally suspended in the departments, the clerks rushing into 
the streets to unite with their fellow-citizeiis in the general rejoicing. 
At the Xavy Yard and the Arsenal the suspension of work was also 
universal, and the vessels all around the city were gaily decked with 
bunting. The colored population had perhaps a double reason for the 
demonstration of their joy, for not only had peace dawned upon 
the land, but the day of their deliverance had also dawned at the 
same time. 

But the illumination of the city and the display of fireworks on 
the evening of April 4 sur[»assc(l in magnificence anything that had 
ever been seen in the Capital of the Nation. The Capitol building 
shone resplendent, the whole massive dome being most brilliantly 
illuminated with innumerable lights, }>ossessing a most beautiful and 
imposing appearance. The National Conservatory exhibited one of 
the most beautiful features of the display. All the public buildings, 
the National Bank, the residences of the heads of departments, the 
E.Kecutive Mansion, the offices of all the subordinate officers of the 
Government, and most of the business houses and private residences 
in all parts of the city were illuminated, in expression of the general 
rejoicing. In Georgetown the illumiiuition was equally universal; the 
customhouse, the post office, the liank of Commerce, the police station, 
the Seminary Hospital, the Vigilant Engine House, the Union Hotel, the 
Ellis Hotel, and business houses and private residences generally ex- 
hibited the joyful emotions of the people at the prospective close of 
the war. 

On Friday, April 7, it was rumored that General Lee and his 
entire army had surrendered. A salute of one hundred guns was 
fired, and a general jubilee i>rcvailed. On the 10th of the month, 

.1/7A /r. / R V HIS TOR V. 279 

liovvever, otticial news of the surrciidor ot" Lee was i-eceivcd, and a 
salute of two hundred guns was ordered to be tired at tlie lieadquar- 
ters of every de[)artnient, and at every post and arsenal of the United 
States, in commemoration of the surrender. On this day the rejoicing 
and excitement in Washington were renewed with all the intensit}' of 
the former day. The President was visited, but declined "to make 
more than a few remarks, in the course of which he said that the 
tune of "Dixie" was one of tlie best he had ever heard, and that he 
had insisted, the day before, that with the fall of Richmond the tune 
of "Dixie" likewise fell into our hands; that he had submitted the 
question to the Attorney-General, who had decided that the tune of 
"Dixie" was a lawful prize. At his request the tune of "Dixie" was 
then played by the band, as was also that of "Yankee Doodle," both 
of which tunes, therefore, should henceforth be considered national 
airs. Other demonstrations were made, and continued through the day 
and evenino^. But the formal celebration occurred on tlie evenino^ of 
the 11th, on which occasion the President made a prei)ared speech, 
dealing with the question of reconstruction as it was then exhibited 
in the State of Louisiana. This address is invaluable to any and all 
who would be pleased to speculate upon what would have been, or 
at least what might have been, tlie President's plan of reconstructing 
the rebellious States, had he been permitted to live and attem})t to 
reinstate those States in their proper relations to the Government of 
the United States. In accordance with resolutions adopted by both the 
city Councils, the city was brilliantly illuminated on the evening of 
April 13, the Capitol being illuminated even more fully and brilliantly 
than on the evening of the -1th. Probably no building in the world 
ever presented so gorgeous and beautiful a spectacle as did the Capitol 
on the evening of April 13. The entire city on the same occasion was 
"literally ablaze," which terms cover the ground better, perhaps, than 
any detailed description could. 

But in the midst of this rejoicing came the terrible announcement 
of the l)rutal, cowardly, and extreniel}' foolish assassination of Presi- 
dent Lincoln, as he sat in a box of Ford's Theater in the evening 
of April 14. During the third act of the play, when there was a 
temporary pause, a sharp report of a pistol shot was heard, but 
which at tirst was sni)})Osed to be a part of the play. Immediately 
afterward, however, the assassin jumped upon the stage with a long 
dagger in his hand, and crying, ^^Sic sonper tyrannisl^' made his escape. 
The details of the assassination have so often been published that no 
more is done in this work than merely to refer to it, in passing, as to 


its cft'ect upon the public mind at the time. The principal emotion in 
connection with it was that a great and good man had fallen, one 
who had the power and the disposition to a greater degree than any 
other man living, to heal the wounds of the war, to bring order out 
of chaos, and to reestablish the Union in the affections of the entire 
people, North and South. Considerations like these illustrate better, 
perhaps, than anything else, the enormity of the crime by which the 
President's life was brought to an untimely end. 

The depression of spirits caused by this national calamity was, at 
least, equal to the elevation caused a few days before by the great 
victories of the armies in the lield. The day after the death of the 
President was Sunday, and upon that day in all the churches the crime 
of the 14th gave tone to all the sermons, in which appropriate allu- 
sions were made to the distinguished and honored dead, and these 
allusions found ready appreciation, and were heartily responded to by 
the hearts of the people in the various congregations. The services 
in the churches were made none the less impressive by the fact that 
they were held on Easter Sunday. 

The city Councils adopted a resolution appropriating ^20,000 as 
a reward for the arrest of the assassin; the various corporation offices 
were closed until after the funeral, as well as the public schools. Ward 
II. Lamon, United States Marshal of the District of Columbia, had 
charge of tlie funeral arrangements and ceremonies, which were held 
on Wednesday, A})ril 19, and were the most imposing pageant that 
had ever been witnessed in the Capital of the Nation. The remains 
of the President lay in state in the east room of the Executive 
Mansion, eight hours being allowed for visitors to pass and view the 
familiar features, but even then thousands were disappointed. The 
funeral address was delivered by Rev. Dr. Gurley, and a song was 
sung, composed for the occasion by Rev. T. N. Haskell, of Boston, 
Massachusetts. The citizens of every State, resident at the Capital, 
held meetings at which suitable resolutions were ado}»ted. 

On May 5, a notice was published to the citizens of the District 
of Columbia, signed b}^ a large number of persons, one hundred and 
three of whose names were published with the notice, calling a mass 
meeting at the City Hall for the 9th of the month, for the purpose of 
consultation as to the best means of preventing such of those who, 
having been at the outbreak of the Rebellion citizens of the District, 
had entered the military service of the Confederate States, from 
returning to their former homes and enjoying the privileges enjoyed 
by loyal citizens. At this meeting, held in accordance with the call, 


there were but few present, not more tluin enough to cover the central 
portico and steps of the City IlalL Hon. John Wilson was elected 
president of the meeting, and there were chosen twenty-three vice-pres- 
idents and six clerks. After a brief address by President Wilson, a 
committee on resolutions was appointed, consisting of W. A. Cook, 
J. W. Deeble, Z. D. Gilman, R. B. Clark, Lewis Clephane, Asbury 
Lloyd, D. S. M. McKim, "N . H. Terry, J. R. Elvans, and Z. Richards. 
Mr. Joseph F. Brown, one of the vice-presidents, made an address, in 
which he said that those who had sought to make their homes among 
rebels and traitors should be made to understand, at least, that their 
room was better than their company. The committee on resolutions 
then made a report of a series of resolutions, stating that those who 
organized the Rebellion had sought to accomplish their designs not 
only by the ordinary means of warfare, but also by the commission of 
every crime that distinguished the ferocity and degradation of bar- 
barism, and that, approving of its purpose, a considerable number of 
the citizens of the District of Columbia, at its inception and during 
its progress, voluntarily abandoned their homes and entered the mili- 
tary service of the Confederacy, and that some of these same persons 
had already returned to the District, and others proposed to return, 
and therefore it was resolved that it was tlie duty of citizens to 
protect themselves from physical and moral evil; that the citizens of 
the District earnestly resisted the settlement here of those who dur- 
ing the past four years had been directly connected with the Rebellion, 
and especially those who had formerly been residents of the District 
should not be allowed to return; that they approved of the opinion 
of the Attorney-General that the rebel officers included under the 
surrender to General Grant had no homes within the loyal States, 
and had no right to come to homes which were theirs before going 
into the Rebellion; that the same rule should apply to those who 
had entered the civil service of the Rebellion, and recalled to mind 
the fact that the President of the United States had not been mur- 
dered by the open and avowed enemies of the Government, but by secret 
and resident miscreants. The president of the meeting was requested 
to appoint a committee, composed of tw^o members from each ward in 
Washington and Georgetown, to present the proceedings of the meet- 
ing to the proper authorities, and the resolutions quoted the words 
of President Johnson, that "mercy without justice was a crime." 
W. H. Terry, of Georgetown, then made a speech very strongl}' 
against permitting rebels and traitors to return to the District of 
Columbia. lie said: "After loafing around this District last summer, 


ready to come in and point ont tlie lionies of loyal men and have 
tlieif dwellings burned and the ownei'S hung — that you should be 
permitted to come liere now and be received with honor, we say it 
shall not be."' The city Councils expressed similar sentiments in the 
form of resolutions adopted in regular meeting, and called upon 
President Johnson to issue an order which would carry into effect the 
opinion of Attorney-General Speed. 

May 23 and 24 were days ever to be remembered in the history 
of Washington. On those days occurred the grand review of the 
Union armies, the Army of the Potomac on the 23d, the armies of 
Georgia and Tennessee on the 24th. Tliousands of interested and 
glad spectators crowded the streets, sidewalks, and roofs of houses 
on both days to witness the grandest spectacle that every occurred in 
the United States. Tlie different corps, brigades, and other organiza- 
tions of the Army of the Potomac crossed the Potomac River during 
the early moi-ning of the 23d, and arranged themselves on the various 
streets and avenues, ready to fall into line at the a})})ointed time. 
These streets and avenues had been thoroughly sprinkled during the 
[)receding night by the tire department, and barrels of water were 
placed along the sides thereof for the soldiers to drink as they passed 
along in the procession. The cavalry formed north of the Capitol, the 
line extending far beyond the city limits. The children of the public 
schools were tastefully arrayed, and arranged on the high ground 
north of the Caj/itol. Thousands of banners bore thousands of 
mottoes, expressive of joy and welcome to the victorious veterans 
of the army, one of which in particular may be repeated here: "The 
Only Debt We Can Never Pay is the Debt We Owe to the Victorious 
Union Soldiers."' At the head of the victorious Army of the Potomac 
rode Major-General George G. Meade, accompanied by his staff. Then 
came tlie cavalry, immediately after the headquarters escort, in com- 
mand of Major-General Merritt, The Third Cavalry Division was in 
command of Major-General George A. Custer, and the entire cavalry 
force followed in brigades and divisions. Then came the Ninth Army 
Corps, in command of Major-General John G. Parlvc; the Fiftli Corps, 
in command of Major-General Charles Griflin ; and the Second Corps, 
in command of Major-General A. A. Humphreys. The procession 
began to move at 0:00 A. M., and the passage of troops continued 
until three o"clock in the afternoon. 

On the 24th, the grand Army of Georgia and that of Tennessee 
wei'e reviewed, the crowd upon the sidewalks, the streets, and the 
housetops being greater even than the day before. General Sherman 

MIIJT. IkV ins TOR Y. 283 

and his coiuniaiul were received \s'\\\\ uiibomided eiitliusiasiii all along 
the route. The hend of the colnnin formed on A Street Xortlnvest, 
and at the tiring of the signal gun at nine o'clock the column began 
to move. General 0. O. Howard rode with Sherman, and they were 
followed by Major-General W. B. Ilazen at the head of the Army 
of the Tennessee, of which Major-General John A. Logan was in 
command. The Seventh Army Corps came next, commanded by 
Major-General Francis P. Blair, and then, leading the Army of 
Georgia, came Major-General II. W. Slocum. This army was com- 
posed of the Twentieth and Fourteenth corps, the former commanded 
by Major-General J. A. Mower, the latter by Major-General Jeff. C. 
Davis. The review of the 24th was in every way as grand a spectacle 
and as great a success as was that of the day before. From this time 
the thousands of veterans dispersed to their homes to enter again the 
peaceful pursuits from which duty had called them four years l)eforc, 
and the War of the Rebellion was at an end. 

The principal results accruing to the District of Columbia from 
the tinal and complete suppression of the Rebellion were, tirst, the 
abolition of slavery therein; and second, the improvement of the cities 
of Washington and Georgetown. The latter subject has already been 
discussed; while the former is brieil}' presented here, as it is more 
immediately connected with the war than either of the others. The 
act for the emancipation of the slaves in the District of Columbia was 
passed by Congress April 16, 1862, and provided that all persons loyal 
to the United States having claims to the service or labor of persons 
discharged therefrom by the act itself, might within ninety days from 
its passage, but not afterward, present to the commissioners to be 
appointed petitions for compensation not to exceed $300 for each 
slave; but no person who had borne arms against tlie Government 
should receive any pay for any slave. One million dollars was the 
maximum amount appropriated under the act for the purpose of 
paying for the slaves. 

The commissioners appointed were Daniel R. Goodloe, Horatio 
King, and John M. Broadhea(h These commissioners met at the City 
Hall, April 28, 1862, and chose William R. Woodward secretary, and 
by January 15, 1863, had reported favorably upon 999 entire peti- 
tions, and upon 21 petitions in part. They had rejected 36 petitions 
entirely. The whole num])er of slaves for whom compensation had 
been allowed was 2,989, and the whole number for whom compensa- 
tion had been withheld was 111, making a total of 3,100 included in 
1,056 petitions. As regards loyalty there wei'e but few instances 


ill which the evidence was of such a nature as to warrant the com- 
missioners in withholding compensation. Afterward, because of the 
impossibility of submitting proof of their loyalty by some of the resi- 
dents of the District in time to claim compensation under this law, 
the time was extended, and 28 more slaves were paid for, making the 
total number paid for 3,017. 

After the close of the war and the consequent disbandment of 
the armies, there were still kept up, or organized, in the District 
of Columbia military organizations of various kinds; but to trace 
minutely the history of each would only add to the length and 
tediousness of this chapter. However, the present militarj^ establish- 
ment it is proper to give. A law was passed by Congress March 
1, 1889, providing for the enrollment of the militia of the District 
of Columbia, every able-bodied male citizen resident in the District, 
between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, being required to be 
enrolled. Under the law the President of the United States is 
commander-in-chief of the militia, and was required to appoint a 
commander of this militia, which consists of the National Guard of 
the District of Columbia, in part. This National Guard is composed 
of a brigade of two regiments, each having three four-company bat- 
talions, and one independent battalion of infantry, one battery of light 
artillery, one troop of cavalry, one engineer corps, and one ambulance 
corps, armed, uniformed, and equipped in conformity with the regu- 
lations of the United States army. Brigadier-General Albert Ordway 
was api)oiiited commander of this militia, and under his assiduous and 
skillful training has attained a high state of discipline. 



The First Exploration of the Potomac River — The Potomac Company — The Chesa- 
peake and Ohio Canal Company — The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Comjtany 
— The Metropolitan Railroad Company —The Baltimore and Potomac Railroad 
Company — The Washington and Alexandria Railroad Company — The Washing- 
ton and Potomac Railroad Company — The Washington and Chesapeake Railroad 
Company — The First Bridge across Rock Creek— The Chain Bridge — The Long 
Bridge — The Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company — The Metropolitan 
liailroad Company — The Columbia Railroad Company — The Anacostia and Poto- 
mac Railroad Company — The Capitol, North Street, and South Washington 
Railroad Company — The Rock Creek Railroad Company — The Eckington and 
Soldiers' Home Railroad Company — The Georgetown and Tennallytown Railroad 
Company — The Norfolk and Washington Steamboat Company — The Mount Ver- 
non and Marshall Hall Steamboat Company — Other Steamboat Companies. 

1]Sr this chapter on "Transportation," an attempt will be made to 
describe, somewhat in detail, the means and methods of transpor- 
tation, and the developments in these means and methods which have 
been employed and made from time to time, since the first historic 
exploration of the Potomac River, with the view of improving its 
navigability, by the great founder of the city of Washington, the 
District of Columbia, and, indeed, of the Nation itself. This explora- 
tion was of the river above tide water, as but little, if anything, was 
necessary to be done below the location of the District of Columbia, 
which, indeed, had not been decided upon at the time; but it is well 
known that the future President of the United States had, in his own 
mind, selected the present location even long before the exploration 
under consideration was made. It is also stated by numerous writers, 
doubtless on sufficient authority, that the present situation of the 
Capital of the United States was chosen, in part, because it is on a 
tidal river, the tide water of which penetrates farther into the heart 
of the country than any other, so that when communication should 
be necessary between the Atlantic seaboard and the interior of the 
country, it would, from this point, be the most easy and inexpensive. 
Of course, this means of communication was to be by the improved 
navigation of the Potomac River, or by means of a lateral canal, as 
railroads had not then been considered. Indeed, for many years after 
the practicability of this latter means of travel had been demonstrated, 


many of the people conld not be convinced that anything was superior 
to a canal. 

But at the risk of repeating what has been stated so many times, 
Ave must introduce at the outset in this chapter a brief account of 
the famous exploration referred to above. It took place in 1783, and 
in a canoe, or pirogue, hollowed out of a large poplar tree, and was 
undertaken for the purpose of determining whether the Potomac 
River could be navigated above tide water at Georgetown. General 
Washington was the principal character engaged in this work, for 
which he was eminently qualified by his early education and practice 
as a surveyor. There were several other gentlemen in the exploration 
party with him in the pirogue, among whom was Governor Johnson, 
of Maryland, who had been a gallant soldier in the Revolutionary 
War. The humble bark, when ready for the water, was hauled to 
the banks of the Monocacy on a wagon, launched into the stream, 
and received its distinguished burden. It .immediately started on its 
interesting and important reconnoisance. As night came on, the party 
would land and seek accommodations of the planters or farmers along 
the banks of the river, who were then, as now, far-famed for their 
genial liospitality. Tlie work of the exploration was accomplislied, 
and was followed, as a result, by the organization of a company for 
the improvement of the river. This company expended, in the attempt 
to render the river navigable, nearlj^ a million of dollars, in a series of 
years, and at length gave way to a more extensive company working 
on a dilferent and more feasible }»ian. 

The company first referred to was called the Potomac Company. 
This company was incorporated b}' the legislatures of Maryland and 
Virginia in 1784. Its affairs were managed by a president and four 
directors, who were elected at a general meetiiig of the stockholders 
on the first Monday in August each year. The purpose for which 
the company was incorporated was to extend the navigation of the 
Potomac River from tide water to the highest practicable point on 
the North Branch. While a great deal of money was expended, yet 
the object was but imperfectly accomplished on account of the natural 
obstacles in the way, and for want of experience in such matters in 
this country at tliat time. The fall in the river between Cumberland 
and tide water was as much as 578 feet, and the distance was one 
hundred and eighty-five miles; lience the difiiculty of rendering the 
Potomac River navigable. The company did, however, execute great 
and beneficial works, as the locks at Little Falls, overcoming a fall 
of 37 feet; the canal and locks at Great Falls, overcoming a fall of 


77 feet; the long ciuial at nar})er's Fei'iy, ami several otiier small 
fjiiials around falls in other parts of the river. 

The locks at Great Falls were opened in 1800, and from that time 
to August, 1826, there were brought down 1,308,911 barrels of flour, 
48,909 barrels of whisky, and other articles, the aggregate in value 
being S10,534,000. 

At the Great Falls the canal was 1 mile long, 25 feet wide, and 6 
feet deep; and the descent of 77 feet was made through 5 locks, eacli 
100 feet long and 12 feet wide. The canal at Little Falls was of the 
same capacitj', and 2J miles in length, furnislied with 3 locks. These 
locks were constructed of wood, and were each 100 feet long and 18 
feet in width. Of tlie live locks at Great Falls, two were cut in the 
solid rock, and tlie otlier three were made of wood and stone. 

Besides these canals witli locks, there were constructed 3 canals 
without locks. The first was below Harper's Ferry, at Shenan(h)ah 
Falls, where the Potomac breaks through the Blue Kidge, and was 
1 mile in length. The second, along tlie Seneca Falls, was I of a mile 
in length, and the third, at House's Falls, five miles above that at 
Shenandoah Falls, was 50 yards in length. 

On the Shenandoali River there were 5 locks, each 100 feet long 
and 12 feet wide; and canals, each 20 feet wide, 4J feet deep, and 
extending 2,400 yards. Bat navigation, in 1830, of the main oi- North 
Branch of the Potomac River, extended to Western J^ort, near its 
source, a distance of 219 miles above tide watei-. 

The South Branch of the Potomac was navigable for 100 miles above 
its junction with the main branch, and the north fork about (JO miles. 

The boats used for the .navigation of the Potomac and the Shenan- 
doah were 75 feet long, 5 feet wide, and drew 18 inches of water. They 
carried 20 tons. 

The original capital stock of the company consisted of 701 shares, 
which, at |444|, amounted to $311,560. Of these shares, 220 belonged 
to Maryland, and 70 to Virginia. 

In 1821, the affairs of the Potomac Compaii}' became the subject 
of investigation. Commissioners appointed by Maryland and Virginia 
assembled at Georgetown June 2, 1822, and afterward reported that 
the company had expended not only the whole of their stock, but in 
addition had incurred heavy debts, which their resources could never 
enable them to pay; that not only the whole of their original stock, 
but also all their tolls had been expended in an attempt to improve 
tlie river; and that the failure to accomplish the objects of their 
incorporation was attributable to lack of information on the subject 


at the time they were incorporated. Accordiiigl}', a low water survey 
of the condition and doptli of water was made at the snggestion of 
the commissioners, which was taken minutely from day to day in 
1822, as the river was descended; from which it was ascertained that 
the Potomac, from its confluence with the South Branch to Goose 
Creek, below the mouth of the Monocacy, is one hundred and fifty- 
seven miles long; that there was no section of ten .miles at all 
navigable in low water by loaded boats of any kind or description, 
and that for more than eighty miles obstructions from shallows suf- 
ticient to stop a skitf were to be met with. A full text of this low 
water survey is to be found in Jonathan Elliott's "Ten Miles Square." 

But from the survey it was evident that the floods and freshets gave 
the only navigation then used; that these floods and freshets occurred 
from September 1 to June 20, and much of this time there was ice 
in the river; and there were times between the floods and freshets 
when navigation lasted not more than about ten days for full loaded 
boats late in the year, and about thirty-tive days in the spring. These 
periods were, however, longer below the Great Falls and less above 
them. Besides the shortness of the navigable seasons, there was con- 
siderable danger from rocks and the windings in the torrent, which 
it was hoped would be overcome by the construction and completion 
of the contemplated Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. 

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company was incorporated by 
the Legislature of Virginia in December, 1823. This action of the 
State of A^irginia was confirmed l)y the State of Maryland and also 
bv the Congress of the United States. On May 16, 1825, the Potomac 
Company assented to the provisions of this legislation, surrendering 
all their rights to the newly incorporated company, and conveying in 
due form of law to the said company all the property, franchises, 
rio"hts, and privileges it possessed. The deed of surrender was signed 
by John Mason, president of the company, Jonah Thom})Son, John 
Laird, and C. Smith, in the presence of William Cranch. Robert 
Barnard was secretary of the company at the time. 

The following statement shows the condition of the finances of 
the Potomac Company at the close of its career: 

Namlier. Amount. 

Cai)ital stock $311,111 11 

Shares held by Virginia 120 .'v],:);];; .']o 

Shares held by Maryland 220 97,777 77 

Shares hel.l by individuals 300 160,000 00 

$.'311,111 11 

TR. 4NSPOR r. / rroN. 289 

The total aiuoiint of the cxpeiiditui-es of tlio eoiii[)aiiy from the 
comiiioiicenieiit, in 1784, to August 1, 1822, iuehuliiig original iinprove- 
iiieiits, re[)airs, interest, and expenses of collecting toll, was $720,387.29. 

The debts due by the company, August 1, 1822, including interest, 
were as follows: 

To subhicrlbers to the Mouocacy loan, ISOo $.'>,S7(> 4!) 

To subsciil)er.s to the Shenandoah loan, 1812 4,60S 77 

To sub^icribers to the Antietaui loan, 1812 17,02() ?,?, 

To subscribers to the Cumberland loan, 1813 7,642 12 

To the State of Maryland, 1814 .')9,i)50 00 

To banks of the District of Columbia 101,192 88 

To sundry individuals 1,500 00 

Total $175,790 59 

During the period of twenty-three years, from August 1, 1799 to 
August 1, 1822, tiie aggregate of the tonnage of articles and goods of 
all kinds brought by this company was as follows: 

Barrels of flour shipped, 1,135,701; whisky, 38,382; ho"-sheads 
of tobacco, 426|; tons of iron, 5,470; estimated value of other arti- 
cles, $215,151.75; value of goods retransported, $180,597.29; tonnao-e 

Work on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was commenced imme- 
diately after the incorporation of the company, but the surrender of 
the Potomac Company to that company, referred to above, was not 
finally made until August 15, 1828. The work on the Chesapeake 
and Ohio Canal for the first year was principally for the |)urpose 
of ascertaining whether the undertaking was practicable. Durino- the 
following year the survey of the route was made, and tlie data secured 
necessai'3' to form a general plan of the work, and to make an esti- 
mate of the probable expense of construction. The Chesajjeake and 
Ohio Canal was to extend from Georgetown to l^ittsbnrgh, in the State 
of Pennsylvania, a total distance of 341 miles, 1,450 yards; nearly 342 
miles. It was divided into sections, as follows: Eastern section, from 
Georgetown to Cumberland, 180 miles; middle section, from Cund)er- 
land to the mouth of Casselman's River, 70 miles, 1,010 yards; 
western section, from the month of Cassel man's River to Pittsburgh 85 
miles, 440 yards. 

The descent in feet from Cumberland to Georgetown was 578 
feet; in the middle section, 1,901 feet; and in the western section, 019 
feet, making the entire ascent and descent 3,158 feet. The estimated 
number of locks in the eastern section was 74; in middle section, 240 
and in the western, 78; total number 398. According to estimates 


made by General Bariuird, the cost of constructing the eastern section 
wonkl be 18,177,081.05; of the middle section, $10,028,122.86, and of 
the western section, $4,170,223.78; making the cost of the entire canal 
from Georgetown to Pittsburgh $22,875,427.60. An estimate of the 
cost of the canal was made at the same time by Geddes & Roberts, 
who made it $12,528,019, a dilference of $9,847,408.69. The sequel 
will show how wide of the mark both of these estimates were. 

Congress passed three acts relative to this canal — first, the one 
mentioned above, confirming the incorporation of the company, ap- 
proved Ma}' 5, 1828; second, an act authorizing subscriptions to the 
stock of the compaii}', approved May 24, 1828; third, an act to 
enlarge the powers of the several corporations of the District of 
Columbia, etc., approved May 24, 1828. 

Act Xo. 2 authorized the United States to subscribe for 10,000 
shares of the stock of the company, and No. 3 authorized tlie corpo- 
rations of Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria to subscribe for 
stock in the company. Under the authority thus granted the United 
States subscribed through commissioners for 10,000 shares of the stock; 
the city of Washington for 10,000 shares; Georgetown for 2,500 
shares, and Alexandria for 2,500 shares. Each share was $100. By 
May, 1829, the entire number of shares taken was 36,089, or $3,608,- 
900, and tliese, together with the Holland loan, placed the company in 
possession of funds sufficient to complete the eastern section of the 

The first officers of the company were as follows: Hon. Charles 
Fenton Mercer, president; Directors, Phineas Janney of Alexandria, 
Joseph Kent of Maryland, Peter Lenox and Dr. Frederick May of 
Washington, Walter Smith of Georgetown, and Andrew Stuart 
of Pennsylvania. The treasurer was Clement Smith, of Georgetown, 
and the clerk, John P. Ingle, of Washington. Robert Barnard was 
assistant clerk. The corps of engineers was composed of Benjamin 
Wright, of New York, engineer-in-chief; Nathan S. Roberts and 
John Marti neau, of New York; Robert Leckie, of Scotland, inspector 
of masonr}', and Philibert Rodier, of France, draughtsman. 

Having thus briefly glanced at the organization of the Chesapeake 
and (_)liio Canal Coni[)any, it may not be uninteresting or devoid of 
value to briefly present the measures taken l)y the people themselves 
of Maryland and Yirginia which led up to this organization. Among 
tlie first of the meetings held by the people, looking toward the 
acconipiisliment of this great object, was one held at Fredericksburg, 
Maryland, August 12, 1823, at which the project of constructing this 

TR.lNSPt )A' '/■. / ffON. 291 

Ciiiial WHS (liscnssed. It was liol<l to hear road a report ol" a eoiuiiiittee 
previously appointed to correspond on tlie snijjcct of a canal with 
those who, it was supposed, were in i'avor of it, and who miglit be 
able to carry it forward. Delegates were present from Baltimore, 
Washington, Georgetown, Alexandria, Leesbnrg, and Rockville. The 
meeting viewed with great gratification the ettbrts of the Legislature 
of Maryland, and the noble-minded participation of the Legislature of 
Virginia, to effect the contemplated water communication by canal 
from Cumberland down the Potomac to tide water, and it also felt 
increased pleasure at the contemplated connection of the Potomac 
with the Oliio, "thereby affording our fellow-citizens of the western 
parts of Pennsylvania and Ohio, 'whom we cannot consider in any 
other point of view than as members of our great political family,' the 
same facilities and advantages which we shall ourselves enjoy." 

A meeting was held in Frederick County, Virginia, October 6, 
1823, to take into consideration the subject of a convention to be held at 
the city of Washington, November 6, 1823, to deliberate upon the best 
means of improving the navigation of the Potomac. A similar meeting 
was also held in Prince William's County, Virginia, on the same day 
for the same purpose. Committees were appointed in each case, and 
a preliminary meeting was held in Washington, October 18, for the 
same purpose. Delegates were appointed also in Alexandria, in Prince 
George's County, and in Washington County, Maryland, and many 
other places. The convention itself was a grand assemblage of citizens 
from the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and 
Ohio. The National Intelligencer said of it: "A volunteer assemblage 
of citizens so numerous, so respectable, had never been seen before in 
any part of the Union,'' and it looked upon the connection of the 
waters of the Ohio and the Potomac and the Atlantic Ocean as truly 
a national object. Albert Gallatin was present from Pennsylvania; 
Buslirod C. Washington from Virginia; Robert W, Bowie from 
Maryland; and G. W. P. Custis from the District of Columbia. 

The convention assembled in the hall of the Supreme Court. 
Joseph Kent, from Maryland, was made chairman, and General Walter 
Jones, of Washington, secretary. General Mercer, from Virginia, 
presented a series of resolutions reciting what had been done to 
effect the object contemi)lated, and then made a vei'y learned speech, 
manifesting an extensive and accurate knowledge of canals, both in 
this country and in Europe, which was ot great service in directing 
the deliberations of the convention. Up to this time the name used 
in connection with the projected improvement was "The Union Canal," 


Ijiit at this meeting tlio name, "The Chesa})eake and Ohio Canal," was 
snhstituted. The convention hasted three days, the ()th, 7th, and 8th 
ot" Octoher, and the following preamble and resolutions were adopted: 

" Whereas, A connection of the Atlantic and Western waters by a 
canal leading from the seat of the General Government to the river 
Ohio, regarded as a local object, is one of the highest importance to 
the States immediately interested therein, and considered in a national 
point of view, is of inestimable consequence to the future union, secur- 
ity, and happiness of tlie United States: 

^'- Resole cd., u)iaiilnioasly, That it is ex[»edient to suljstitute for the 
[)resent defective navigation of the Potomac River above tide water, a 
navigable canal b}' Cumberland to the mouth of Savage Creek, at 
the eastern pass of the Allegheny Mountains, and to extend the 
canal as soon thereafter as practicable to the highest constant steam- 
boat navigation of the Monongahela and Ohio rivers. 

"That the most eligible mode of attaining this object will l)e by 
the incorporation of a joint stock company, em[)Owered to cut the 
said canal through the territorj^ of the United States in the District 
of Columbia, and in the States of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsyl- 
vania, and therefore that committees be appointed, eacli consisting 
of live delegates, to prepare and present in behalf of this assembly, 
and in cooperation with the central committee hereinafter provided 
for, suitable memorials to the Congress of the United States and 
the legislatures of the several States before named, requesting their 
concurrence in the incorporation of such a company and their cooper- 
ation, if necessary, in the subscription of funds for the completion 
of said canal," etc. 

The other resolutions were very long, but covered the folhjwing 
points: Accepting the act of the State of Virginia of Februar}- 22, 
1823, as a basis for the incorporation of any new stock company, and 
accepting it as a charter for the jtroposed com})any, with certain modi- 
lications; changing the name to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal 
Company; that the canal should be not less than 40 feet wide at the 
to}), 28 feet wide at the bottom, and not less than 4 feet in depth; 
[)eiMnitting the States of Mar}'iand and Virginia to construct lateral 
canals, and using the waters of the Potomac Eivcr. The con\'cntion 
also proposed tliat in case of necessity there be a subscription t() the 
stock to the amount of $2,750,000, to be divided as follows: Maryland, 
y-j-; A'irginia, yV; the United States, ^^j-; and the three cities of the 
District of Columbia, ,'-, , to be divided among them as they might 
(Irtcrmine. It was also proposed that a committee be appointed of 

TR.LYSr(Ux' T. I 7VO,V. 208 

five (k'log-atc'S to pi'opare a nieinorial to the State of Oliio, iii\itiiig- her 
cooperation in the work of completing the Chesajieake and Ohio 
Canal, and its nltiniate connection with Lake Erie, etc. 

By August, 1824, the board of engineers, having finished their 
first general reconnoissance, of the eastern and middle sections of this 
great national design, and having no doubt of its practicability, made 
out instructions for the different brigades of engineers ordered u[)on 
the work. They then went to examine the Monongahela River to 
Pittsburgh, and also that portion of the proposed canal which was 
to unite the Ohio River with Lake Erie by the Beaver and Grand 

During the succeeding winter the legislatures of Maryland and Vir- 
ginia incorporated the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, and on 
May 16, 1825, the stockholders of the old Potomac Company assem- 
bled, four hundred and sixty shares being represented, and came to a 
unanimous determination to assent to the charter granted to the new 
company in the terms of the act of Virginia. On the ITtli of May, 
the central committee of the Canal Convention met at Brown's Hotel 
in Washington, those present being Charles Fenton Mercer, John 
McLean, Erisby Tilghraan, John Lee, A. B. Powell, John Mason, and 
II. L. Opie. Commissioners were appointed by the 1st of July, to 
open subscription books to the stock of the Chesapeake and Ohio 
Canal Company, as follows: For the District of Columbia, Samuel 
II. Smith, Anthony C. Cazenove, and Clement Smith; for Maryland, 
Governor Sprigg, Colonel Frisby Tilghman, and Phili[) E. Tliomas; for 
Virginia, General John C. Hunter, Colonel William Ellzey, and 
Richard II. Henderson. 

Their appointment com[)leted the legal requirements to the estab- 
lishment of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company. But the 
consent of Pennsylvania had not yet been obtained for the extension 
of the canal beyond the line of Maryland to Pittsburgh; in fact, that 
consent had, in the winter of 1821-25, been refused, with the peculiar 
wisdom that is so often found in legislatures. But on August 29, 1825, 
a large meeting of citizens was held at Uniontown, Pennsylvania, which 
passed resolutions forcibly ajiitroving of the canal project, and viewing 
"with apprehension and alarm the extraordinary and unaccountable 
vote of the last legislature." Subscriptions to the stock also remained 
to be secured, but there was every reason, and even stimulus, to cause 
these subscriptions to be made, both on the part of individuals and 
the States, as well as the District of Columbia. The price of lands 
beyond the Allegheny had already been augmented, as a result of the 


niovcnient, as had also the thousands of miiniproved hjts in the eity 
of Washington. 

The central committee of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Com- 
pany met at Brown's Hotel, in Washington, August 30, 1826, and 
adopted an address to the members of the convention, and to the 
inhabitants of the counties, and corporations of the West, and Penn- 
sylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, who felt an interest in the object 
to be accomplished, and giving such information as it could regarding 
the })rogress of the work. They said it could scarcely be questioned 
that the markets of rhiladelphia and Baltimore might be brought, by 
the connection of the Potomac and the Susquehanna above the Blue 
llidge and by the Patapsco below it, into fair competition with those 
of the District of Columbia. 

On July 8, 1827, a meeting of the citizens of the District of 
Columbia east of Rock Creek urged the commencement of active 
operations on the canal, and the appointment by the Mayor of Wash- 
ington, R. C. Weightman, of nine citizens to Jict as a committee, 
together with the Mayor and two citizens east of Rock Creek, to 
take into consideration the future of tlie canal company. Hon. 
Charles Fenton Mercer was present at the meeting, and was_ publicly 
thanked for his services in behalf of the project. yThe committee 
appointed by the Mayor was as follows: Daniel Carroll of Dud- 
dington, John P. Van Xess, Thomas Law, Thomas Munroe, Walter 
Jones, C. McLean, Joseph Gales, Jr., William A. Bradley, John Davis, 
for AVashington; and Samuel H. Smith and Joseph Pearson, for the 
countv. This committee reported to a meeting held July 17, 1827. 
In their report they said that it was greatly to the interest of this 
citv that the canal be completed as soon as practicable. It would 
save to the city in fuel alone, by the substitution of coal for wood, 
more than ^100,000 per year, small as the city was at that time; and 
there would be a diminution in the [)rices of grain, Hour, lumber, 
butter, whisky, meat, marble, iron, and the various other commodities 
that were brought in from a distance, which would be paid for with 
the fish and manufactures of the city, etc. The corporation of the 
city of Washington was therefore advised to subscribe to the stock 
of the company §1,000,000, on the condition that Congress was to be 
applied to to grant authority to do whatever was necessary to enable 
the city legally to assist the canal, etc. This was the first decisive step 
taken by the city, although the iiduUjitants had all along approved of 
the project and wished it to go forward; but they had done nothing 
but to invoke the aid of Congress, and of the States of Maryland 

TR.\NSP()R T. I TfON. 295 

and Virginia. As some at the time expressed it, "they had heen 
upon their knees invoking . Hercules, but Ilereules wouhl not alone 
put liis shoulder to the wheel; the citizens must themselves })ut their 
shoulder to tlie wheel, and then it might be, if they needed assistance, 
that Hercules would condescend." 

Subscription books were opened at the Branch Bank October 1, 

1827. The amount of each share was $100 in current money, and %\ 
must be paid on each share subscribed for at the time of subscribing, 
the rest to be paid uj)on the call of the [)resident and directors of the 
com[)any, but not more than one-third was payable each year. On 
the Hrst day the books were opened there was subscribed in Washing- 
ton, including the city itself, $1,066,300, and in Georgetown, including 
the subscriptions of that city, $425,000; total in the two places, 
$1,401,300. The work was to begin when $1,500,000 was subscribed; so 
the lii'st day's subscriptions rendered its beginning a certainty. 

But, notwithstanding this auspicious beginning, by November 6 
those interested in the project living in the District of Columbia became 
considerably alarmed at the prospect, because of the proposed construc- 
tion of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from Baltimore to the Ohio 
River. This railroad project deprived the canal company of much of 
the money it bad expected from many of the citizens of Baltimore, 
and from the towns and country through which the railroad was to 
be constructed. It therefore devolved upon the District of Columbia 
to take that step which would immediately be decisive of the fate of 
the caiuil, which would not only embark in it a liberal conti'ibution, 
but which would be a most efiicient means in securing the powerful 
and decisive aid of Congress. A strong and earnest appeal was there- 
fore made to every' man 't(j do all in his power in furthering the 
canal. Committees were appointed for each of the wards of the city 
to procure further subscriptions as follows: 

First Ward, and Charles Vinson; Second Ward, James 

McLeary and James Larned; Third Ward, Andrew Way and Andrew 
Coyle; Fourth Ward, J. P. Ingle and James Young; Fifth Ward, 
Griffith Coomlje and E. S. Lewis; Sixth Ward, Adam Lindsay and 
William Easley. 

The Congress of the United States, in res})onse to the petitions 
of the citizens, passed the Cliesa[)eake and Ohio Canal bill in May, 

1828, by a large majority in both Houses, and the papers then burst 
forth with congratulations somewhat as follows: 

"We may congratulate ourselves on the passage of a bill which con- 
templates, and which will, no doubt, secure, the execution of a work 

296 H/SrORV OF ]\\4SH/NGrON. 

so boueticial to this District, to the States through which it will pass, 
and to the country at large. Georgetown and Alexandria, in whose 
streets the grass now grows green, will become once more the scenes 
of commerce and wealth. Washington, which is now })Overtj-strickeii 
and humbly dei)endent on the regular or casual expenditures of indi- 
viduals attached to the Government, w\\\ be able to hold up her head 
among the cities of the country, and to participate with them in some of 
the benefits resulting from po})ulation, capital, and productive iudustry. 
The intentions and anticipations of the Father of his country, as to 
the city which bears his name, nuiy now be fulfilled and realized. 
The city of Washington may be made worthy of its founder, and 
worthy of remaining forever the uietro})olis of the Union," etc. "The 
author of this great enterprise is Charles Fenton Mercer, of Virginia. 
lie will be called the 'Clinton of the South,' a title more honoring 
than the proudest which heraldry can boast." 

In honor of the success of the prelimiiuir}- steps taken iu this 
enterprise, the citizens of Georgetown gave a [)ublic dinner to Hon. 
C. F. Mercer, on the 26th of June, 1828. 

A meeting of the stockholders of the canal comjiany was held 
June 20, 1828, at the City Hall, to receive the report of the board 
of commissioners on the part of tlie United States, avjd the States of 
Maryland ami Virginia, and to organize the company by the election 
of a president and six directors. On motion of General John C. 
Hunter, Hon. Richard Rush, Secretary of the Ti-easury, was invited 
to })reside; but on account of the possibility of his having to attend to 
official business before the meeting should close, he proposed the Mayor 
of Washington, Joseph Gales, Jr., for chaii'nnui, and Mr. Gales was 
selected accordingly. Clement Smith acted as secretary. The report of 
the commissioners was read by Samuel H. Smith, am. in this report it 
was shown that the subscriptions to the stock of the company then 
amounted to $3,090,100 in money, and $110,149.77 in the stock of 
the old Potomac Com[)any. The salaries of the ofiicers of the com- 
pany about to be organized were then settled, and the company 
organized as stated in former [)age.s. Notice was then given that 
subscriptions, which should be first ottered in whole shares up to 
$6,000,000, would be received at the Bank of the United States in 
Washington, and that these sul)scriptions should take }»recedence over 
others later received. 

June 28, 1828, it was resolved that the mnnici}»al authorities of 
the three cities within the District, the [)resident and directors 
of the canal com})any, and guests specially invited, should [)roceed by 

TR.ixspoR T. I T/nx. 297 

water on '^113- 4, to the point where the ground was to l.)e broken on 
that (lay, tor tlie beginning of the eanal. This spot was just within 
the limits of the Distriet, near the powder magazine and above the 
Little Falls bridge. The ceremonies of the day were intended to 
be, and were, very imposing in tlieir nature. At an early hour, 
the invited guests assembled at Tilley's Hotel, the President of the 
United States arriving at 7:30 a. m. There were also [)resent tlie Sec- 
retaries of the War, Navy, and Treasury departments of the Govern- 
ment; the Postmaster-General, Senators, and Representatives, and many 
of the ministers of foreign countries. At eight o'clock, the procession 
formed and moved to High Street wharf, whence tlie steamer Saiyrisc, 
two other steamers, and a line of barges moved up the Potomac to a 
spot just above the lower termination of the canal. On leaving the 
"River of Swans," the procession marched a few hundred yards to 
tlie canal boats prepared to receive them, at the upper bridge across the 
canal, from the banks of which "there shot u[) along its entire course 
a large variety of the most beautiful native trees, wliose brandies, 
interwoven above, would have excluded the rays of the most piercing 
sail. . . . Xoiseless, but in crowds, the people moved forward on the 
bank of tlie canal, keeping even pace with the long line of boats, 
whilst airs, now animated, now plaintive, from the Marine Band, plaeed 
in the forward boat, lightened the toil of the work.'' 

Upon reaching the ground selected for the beginning of opera- 
tions, one or two hundred yards east of the Washington Canal, the 
procession formed a hollow square, in the center of which was the spot 
marked by Judge Wright, the engineer of the company, for the 
commencement of the work. At that precise moment, the sun burst 
forth from behind a cloudj and the Mayor of Georgetown handed the 
spade to Hon. Mr. Mercer, president of the company, who stepped 
forward from the column and addressed the assembled multitude as 

"Fellow-Citizens: There are moments in the progress of time 
which are counters of whole ages. There are events the monuments 
of which, surviving eveiw other memorial of human existence, eternize 
the nation to whose history they belong, after all other vestiges of its 
glory have disappeared from the globe. At such a moment we have 
now arrived; such a nujiiument we are now to found." 

Then turning to the President of the United States, Hon. John 
Quincy Adams, who stood near, Mr. Mercer addressed him in a short 
speech, and then [)resented to him the spade with which he was to 
perform the ceremoii}- of breaking ground. The President himself 


niiule an address of coiisideral^le length, at the conclusion of which a 
national salute was tired, when the chairman of the committee of 
arrangements delivered an address, and was followed by Mr, Stuart. 
At the conclusion of Mr. Stuart's speech, sods of earth were dug in 
succession by the President of the United States, the president of the 
canal company, the mayors of Washington, Georgetown, and Alex- 
andria, the Secretaries of the War, iSTavy, and Treasury departments 
of the Government, the Postmaster-General, the Commander of the 
Army, the Revolutionary ofUcers })resent, and the directors of the canal 
company, followed l^y a great many other persons. The procession 
then returned to tlie canal, thence to tide water, and thence down to 
Davidson's wharf, where they all landed. "Thus ended the most 
delightful commemoration of this eventful day that we have ever 
witnessed, and thus auspiciously was begun the work upon the Chesa- 
peake and Ohio Camil."" 

The company established its ofhces in the City Hall, in the second 
story, on the west side. John P. Ingle was the clerk, and served for 
man}' years. 

July 8, 1828, the Board of Aldermen and Common Council of 
the city of Washington requested the Mayor to ask the officers of the 
canal company to locate and mark with as little delay as possible 
the route of so much of the said canal as passed through the city of 
Washington to the Eastern Brancii; and that he be further requested 
to communicate the result of such application to the board as soon as 

In response to this resolution the board of directors of tlie canal 
rc})lied, that it would be inexpedient to expend any part of the capital 
stock in an extension of the canal below the entrance to the canal then 
in existence, at the head of the Little Falls of the Potomac, before the 
line of the canal leading thence to the mouth of the Shenandoah had 
been put under contract; that the president and directors of the 
Chesapeake and Ohio Caiuil Company were not under any obligation 
to })rescribe the eastern termination of the canal in the District of 
Columbia; and further, that if it were the desire of the corporation 
of tlie city of Washington, notwithstanding, that the eastern termi- 
mition of the canal should be then fixed by a vote of the company, the 
president and directors would, upon the request of the corporation, or 
of the directors residing within the limits of the city, call a general 
meeting of the stockholders for the purpose of submitting that ques- 
tion to their judgment. The request was accordingly made, and a 
meeting of the stockholders was held in the City Hall, September 


10, 1828. With reference to tlie local question — as to the eastern 
termination of the canal — to decide which tlie nieetina; had been 
called, Mr. Mercer said that his belief was, that the point of termina- 
tion was not fixed by the charter; that its most advisable termination 
was at the basin above Georgetown; but that lie liad never doubted 
that it would ultimately pass through the city of Washington, under 
distinct legislation of Congress, and concluded with submitting as tlie 
result of the deliberations of the board of directors a series of resolu- 
tions, to the effect that if the Attorney-General of the United States 
should be of the opinion that the charter of the company conferred 
authority therefor, and the corporations of Washington, Georgetown, 
and Alexandria should respectivel}' assent thereto, the canal should 
extend to the mouth of liock Creek, on the plan of the engineers, 
Benjamin Wright and John Martineau. 

September 17, an adjourned meeting was held and tlie above 
proposition was approved; that is, that the canal should terminate at 
a basin to be erected by the corporation of Washington at the mouth 
of the Tiber, and it was also agreed that it might be continued to 
Alexandria, and a branch be extended to the Navy Yard in "Wash- 
ington. Payments on subscriptions were made as follows: October 
3, $2; November 3, |2; December 3, $2; and so on monthly, |2 
per month, at any of the banks in the District of Columbia, the 
Ilagerstown Baid^, Maryland, or the branch of the Valley Bank at 
Charlestown, Virginia. 

Preparations were made to lay the corner stone of the first lock 
of this canal on July 4, 1829, but the ceremony had to be postponed 
until a later day on account of the inclemency of the weather. On 
March 30, 1830, the water was let into the canal from the powder 
house down to the old locks, and navigation, which had l)een for 
some time obstructed by operations on this part of the canal, was 
then resumed, several boats having come down to Georgetown from 
the river above. Tiiis piece of the canal, which was about two miles 
in length, was described as a beautiful sheet of water, and as answer- 
ing all the expectations of its projectors and managers. Its l)eauty 
was of course enhanced by its prospective commercial value. One 
boat had traversed the entire two miles in fifteen minutes. The canal 
was permanently opened for navigation the same day, that is, Mai'ch 
30, 1830. It was from eighty to one hundred feet wide, and its 
minimum depth was six feet. In addition to the two miles of the 
new canal, one-twentieth of a mile of the old l\)tomac Canal was 
used, connecting it with the river at the head of Little Palls. The 


prism of the Chesapeake and Oliin Canal was more tlian double that 
of the Erie Canal, thus giving niuch greater facility of draught. The 
line up to Seneca was under contract, and it was expected to be coni- 
pleted tliat far by June 1, 1880. 

The same officers were elected in June, 1830, that had previously 
served the company. The canal was completed, including the con- 
struction of the locks from Georgetown to Seneca, a distance of 22 
miles, by July 4, 1830. Fn this distance there were 24 locks of hewn 
stone, a large basin common to Washington and Georgetown, covering 
eight acres, and embracing 1\ miles of wharf; 5 or 6 stone bridges in 
Georgetown; 8 large culverts and several small ones; 2 dams built 
on an entirely new plan, of solid masonry, and several walls, varying 
from 40 to 50 feet in height. The canal was nearly completed to the 
"Point of Rocks," and but for the legal controversy with the Baltimore 
and Ohio Railroad Company, it was believed the canal would have 
been completed that year to Harper's Ferry. In the distance from 
Georgetown to Seneca, there was about 190 feet of lockage, a little 
more than one-third of the entire lockage from tide water to Cumber- 
land, so that the canal liad passed through the most difficult [)art of 
the distance. 

About April 1, 1831, the Legislature of Pennsjdvania passed a 
resolution requesting tlieir Senators and Representatives in Congress 
to endeavor to })rocure the passage of a law authorizing the United 
States to subscribe $1,000,000 toward the completion of the western 
end of the canal. The canal was to be completed to the Point of 
Rocks that year, but the twenty-seven miles between Seneca and the 
Point of Rocks would be useless uidess it was constructed beyond 
the Point of Rocks to the feeder. This point was involved in litigation 
between the canal company and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad 
Company. The canal was in operation from Seneca to Georgetown, 
and its usefulness was demonstrated by the fact that one boat could 
Iji'ing down in one day as much produce as could l)e brought down 
b}' four horses and a wagon in a month. It formerly cost lift}' cents 
per barrel to get flour from Seneca to Georgetown, but by the canal 
it could be brouglit down for seven cents per barrel. The canal was 
opened for the season of 1831, on March 21, and by the end of the 
month there was received |8,400 in tolls. The amount of produce 
which passed down to Georgetown by May 14, that year, was as 
follows: Flour, 83,100 barrels; whisky, 752 barrels; wheat, 7,401 
bushels; l)acon, butter, and lard, 84,540 pounds; corn, 202 bushels; 
hemp, 4,000 pounds; iron, 85 tons; bran, etc., 1,190 bushels; besides 


a large quantity of stoiio, firewood, etc. The tolls iimouiited in that 
time to $17,049. The packet boat, Charles Fenton Mercer, left the 
bridge at Frederick Street, Georgetown, for Seneca, at seven o'clock 
every morning; fare to Crommelin, 371 cents; to Seneca, 50 cents; 
breakfast, 31 j cents; dinner, 50 cents; supper, 25 cents; wine at from 
50 cents to |1.50 per bottle. 

The first 48 miles of the canal were laid out and marked on the 
ground by Dr. John Martineau, a civil engineer, under the supervision 
of Benjamin Wright. They were divided into al)Out 90 sections, and 
comprehended in that distance 2 aqueducts — one of three and the other 
of seven arches, of 54 feet span each; 74 culverts; a dam across the 
Potomac at the head of Little Falls, 1,750 feet long, and another at 
the head of Seneca Falls 2,500 feet long; 27 lift locks, besides a tight 
lock and a guard lock; 17 houses for the lock keepers, two of which 
were built large enough to serve as places of rest for passengers; 3 feed- 
ers from the i-iver and one from an intermediate stream; several 
basins, one of which was designed as a capacious harbor for boats, and 
was sustained by a mole across Rock Creek, erected in 20 feet of 
water, and was 1,000 feet long and 160 feet wide, tli rough which a lock 
connected the navigation of the canal with the tide water of the 

The progress of the canal was arrested by the injunction of tlie 
Chancellor of Mai'yland, granted almost immediately after the organi- 
zation of the compaii}', and brought at the suit of the Baltimore and 
Ohio Railroad Company. This injunction was continued until reversed 
by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, January 5, 1831, during all 
of which time the canal from Seneca Falls to the Point of Rocks was 
awaiting a supply of water from Harper's Ferry; and after the 
dissolution of the injunction the canal had to be extended through 
the fourteen miles of disputed territory and up to Harper's Ferry 
Falls, where there was a dam already erected by the United States 
Government. This i»oi'tion of the canal was speedily let to experi- 
enced contractors, as well as that portion between Rock Creek l)asin 
and the mouth of Tiber Creek, the eastern terminus of the Chesa- 
peake and Ohio Canal. Thirty-six miles above the head of Harper's 
Ferry Falls were also contracted for, in order to complete one hundred 
miles of the canal in five years, as required b}' the charter. Sixty- 
four miles of the canal were com[)leted and capable of navigation by 
October, 1833. 

Up to December 1, 1833, there had been received into the treasury 
of the company the following sums of money: Subscriptions to tlie 


ca[)ital stock, $3,589,252.(34; on aeconnt of the coniproniiso, $177,- 
333.35; tolls, $04,538.27; old houses and materials sold, $514.80; sums 
paid agents, refunded, $752.31; profit on the sale of Maryland 
stock, $4,708.03; interest received from delinquent subscribers, $989.79; 
costs of suit recovered, $3,847.62; on debts of the Potomac Com- 
pany, $784.82; loans at the several banks, $55,000; total amount, 
$3,927,710.63. The entire expenditui-es had been up to the same 
time, $3,707,262.43. 

In explanation of the above amount received on account of 
compromise, it should be stated that some months previously the 
two litigant companies, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company 
and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, had compromised 
their difHculties by the acceptance on the part of each of an act of 
tlie Legislature of Maryland passed for the purpose of securing the 
construction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to Harper's Ferry. 
By this com[»romise the railroad company bound themselves to pay 
to the canal coni}»any, in consideration of the damage that might be 
done to the canal, and of the interruption or hazard to which its 
navigation would be unavoidabl}' exposed in the construction of the 
railroad along the margin thereof, for grading the four and one-tenth 
miles of the road between Harper's Ferry and the Point of Rocks, 
described below, the sum of $266,000. The said four and one-tenth 
miles consisted of a space to be laid off between the entrance of the 
bridge at Harper's Ferry and a })oint two miles therefrom, according 
to the location of said road, which was to be below Millar's Narrows; 
of one mile and one-twentieth extending from a point opposite to the 
door of the chief public house at the Point of Rocks up the valley 
of the Potomac, compi-ehending the lower Point of Rocks; and one 
mile and one-twentieth extending above and below tlie upper Point 
of Rocks so as to comprehend the same; making all tliat part of 
the canal at those places in which an interference exists, between the 
location of the canal and the railroad. 

Shoi'tly after this compromise was effected, an election of president 
and directors of the canal company was held in June, 1833, at the 
City Hall in Washington. It resulted as follows: John II. Eaton 
received 5,054 votes to C. F. Mercer's 3,430. The directors elected 
were William Price, J. J. Abert, W. Gunton, W. Smith, Phineas 
Janney, and R, II. Henderson. To the friends of Mr. Mercer his 
defeat was a sore disa})})ointment, as they looked upon him as the 
great promoter of the canal. They could, however, console themselves 
only with the reflection that it was the shares of stock that elected 


Mr. Eiiton, while the individual stockholders were very largely in favor 
of Mr. Mercer, the vote on this basis standing 2,362 for Mr. Mercer, 
to 1,030 for Mr. Eaton. 

In order to assist the company in completing- the canal, the 
Legislature of Maryland, in March, 1835, offered to loan the conipanv 
12,000,000 on certain conditions. At a general meeting of the 
stockholders, held at Washington, A\)V\\ 22 following, after full 
discussion of the proposition, it w^as resolved by the comjiany to accept 
the loan with tlie terms. At that time the navigation of the canal 
was continuous for a distance' of 110 miles from Washington, exclusive 
of 9 miles of slack water navigation above dam ^o. 5. 

In February, 1886, a report was made hy the company to the 
Legislature of Maryland, showing that 109 miles of the canal were in 
operation. These 109 miles liad cost $4,838,271, and it was estimated 
that to extend tlie canal from the 109th mile to the Great Cacapon, a 
further distance of 27 miles, would cost $1,022,534; to the line near 
the South Branch, 31 miles, $1,793,048, and to Cumberland, a distance 
of 19J miles, »745,037; making a total of $8,398,890. George C. 
Washington was then president of the company, and he was 
reelected June 22, 1836, and again in 1837. 

At this, point it may not be improper to digress sufficiently to 
narrate the construction of the Alexandria Canal, and the aqueduct 
across the Potomac at GeorgetowMi by which it was supplied with 
water. The lirst spadeful of earth was thrown up in the construction 
of tliis canal, July 4, 1831. The aqueduct itself was begun in 1833. 
At iirst the engineer was overruled, and several contractors failed 
in their attempts to build circular cofferdams in which to sink the 
piers. The board of directors then placed Majoi- William Turnbull, 
of the corps of topographical engineers, in charge of the work, and 
he held the position until it was completed. The aqueduct was built 
across the Potomac at Georgetown, and conveyed the water from the 
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal to the Alexandria Canal. It consisted 
of two abutments and eight massive stone piers one hundred feet 
apart, supporting a wooden trunk, which was originally designed 
to be of stone. The foundation of these piers rested on the rocky 
bottom of the river, reached through twenty feet of water and 
twenty feet of mud. When completed, it was said of it, "As a 
hydraulic work it ranks number one, and may be boldly pointed to 
in comparison with anything of the kind at home or abroa<h'' After 
several attempts and considerable difficulty, the canal was at length 
opened to Alexandria on December 2, 1843. The canal was seven 


miles long from the aqnednct to Alexnndria, with no lock or other 
interruption to navigation. Tiie president of the canal company, the 
Mayor of Alexandria, and a large nnmher of citizens went up to 
the aqueduct in the morning, and there, with the engineers and other 
officers of the company, embarked in the canal boat Pioneer, and 
after a passage of a little more than an hour reached the termination 
of the canal at the junction of Wasliington and Montgomerj- streets. 
In the afternoon of the same da}', a canal boat came down from 
Washington County, Maryland, loaded with tlour. The officers of the 
canal company at that time were William Fowle, president; Hugh 
Smith, Phineas Janney, Robert II. Miller, Thonuis E. Baird, Robert 
Jamieson, and G. 11. Smoot, directors. 

During the years 1838 and 1839, the company experienced great 
difficulty in completing the upper end of the canal, because of the 
actual expense so far outrunning the estimates; and it began to 
be feared by the friends of the canal that the Legislature of Mary- 
land, wliich State was the great stockholder and supporter of the 
enterprise, would decline to render further assistance, unless the canal 
were turned over to her as security for money advanced, and to be 
advanced. Up to March, 1839, the various sums invested in the canal 
were as follows: First, her commuted stock in the old Potomac 
Company; second, $500,000 subscribed to the original capital; third, 
$125,000 to save the dams; fourth, $2,000,000 on loan to the company 
on pledge of the revenue of the canal; fifth, $3,000,000 subscribed on 
a guaranty of six per cent, per year on the amount, after the expira- 
tion of three years. Thus she was guaranteed the entire revenue of 
the canal. The Government of the United States had $2,500,000 of 
stock, and she, together with the State of Virginia iind the indi- 
vidual stockholders, who, in 1839, had been for ten years and more 
lying out of their nione}' and out of any dividends upon it, could 
receive no dividend until Maryland liad received her six per cent, 
upon her advances. There was then needed, to complete the camil to 
Cumberland, $2,320,871 more than had been estimated, and it was this 
\inexpected state of aftairs which caused the contemplation of a policy 
which, had it been [)ursued, would have been suicidal in the extreme. 

In April, 1839, water was let into 27 miles of the canal at the 
upper end, making 137 miles of this great work completed, and leav- 
ing only 50 miles to finish to Cumberland. In the meantime, the 
State of Maryland had decided to subscribe to the stock of the com- 
panv $1,375,000 more, to which the compaiu' at a general meeting 
of the stockholders agreed. May 11, 1839. They also, at the same 


time, agreed to the proposal of the State to excliange $3,200,000 of 
five per cent, sterling- stock of tlie State for the $3,000,000 six per 
cent, stock already subscribed by the State. 

On June 3, 1839, Francis Thomas was elected president of the 
company. The chief engineer of the company at that time was 
Charles B. Fisk. Ilis estimate of the entire cost of the 50 miles 
above mentioned as necessary to complete the canal to Ciiniboi'land, 
was $4,440,057, upon which, however, there had then been exi)ended 
about $950,000. In March, 1840, according to the report of the same 
engineer, there had been expended on the six-sevenths of the canal 
that were completed a little over $10,000,000, and there was needed 
to complete the remaining one-seventli $2,300,000. lie said that the 
canal could not prove profitable to the stockholders until this remain- 
ing one-seventh should be finished. At a meeting of the company at 
Washington, held in the City Hall, July 20, 21, and 22, 1840, it was 
decided to remove tlie offices of the company from Washington, where 
they had been ever since the organization of the com})any in 1828, to 
Frederick, Maryland, and it was unanimously resolved that the thanks 
of the company be extended to the corporate authorities of Wasliing- 
ton for the gratuitous use of the apartments of the City Ilall during 
that length of time. 

Early in 1841, George C. Washington was compelled to retire 
from tlie presidency of this company. He said it was under l>arty 
proscription of Ids own State, and that of the United States, the 
Secretary of the Treasury being the agent voting tlie stock of 
the United States. The indebtedness of the compaiu' at that time was 
somewliat more than $3,000,000, and the assets were $4,930,937. At a 
meeting of the stockholders, held April 1, 1841, Michael C. Sprigg 
was elected president, to succeed President Wasliington. 

An act was passed l)y the Legislature of Maryland, at its session 
of 1841, to secure the completion of this canal. Section 1 of this 
act provided that whenever the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company 
should agree to all the provisions of the act, it should then be the 
(hity of the commissioner of loans of the State to issue, from time 
to time, to the company in sums of not less than $100 certificates of 
stock of the State, to an amount not exceeding $2,000,000, irrodeemabk' 
for thirty years, and redeemable afterward at the pleasure of the 
State, bearing six per cent, interest, payable semi-annuall}-. 

Section 4 provided that for the purpose of providing for the l>ay- 
ment of tlie debt thus authorized the annual sum of $25,000 should be 
paid from the tolls of the canal. 


"Section 10. And whereas, It is to be apprelieiided that the canal 
will reach Cumberland before any effective etfort will be made to open 
and complete the several railroads which are to connect the canal with 
the coal mines, in which case there is danger that the State may be 
compelled to make these railroads at the public expense; 

'■'■ Therefore be it enacted, That before any contract shall be made for 
the completion of the said canal to Cumberland, or bond or certificate 
issued under the provisions of this act, the treasurer of the Western 
Shore shall certifj^, under his hand and seal of office, to the president 
and directors of said Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, that the 
companies hereinafter named, incorporated by tlio Legislature of this 
State, to wit: 'The Baltimore and ]SI"ew York Coal Company,' 'The 
Maryland and New York Iron and Coal Company,' 'The Maryland 
Mining Company,' and 'The Clifton Coal Company,' have severall}- 
given satisfactory bonds to the State of Maryland, conditioned for 
the construction and completion of a railroad adequate to convey to 
the canal the products of their prospective mines, the same to be 
completed, ready for use, simultaneously with the completion of the 
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal to Cumberland." 

"Section 12. That no part of this bill shall be operative until 
one or more of the incorporated companies, coal or iron, in Allegheny 
County, shall have entered into bonds, with security, to the State of 
Maryland, to be approved by the treasurer of the Western Shore, to 
pa}' $200,000 per annum for five years, for the transportation of their 
own coal, iron, or other materials or goods, at the expiration of each 
and every year from and after six months after the completion 
of the said canal to Cumberland''; and they were not to be released 
from the payment of this amount on the whole amount of articles 
transported by them until the same, at the rate of tolls charged b}' 
the canal company, exceeded in cost the sum of $200,000. 

For the year 1841, according to the report of Charles B. Fisk, 
chief engineer of the compau}', there had been done on the fifty miles 
of unfinished canal, $231,107 worth of work, and the amount needed 
on Januar}' 1, 1842, to complete the canal was $1,591,136. During 
that year the canal had been navigable for about 300 days. The canal 
was 6 feet deep, and the locks 15 feet wide and 100 feet long. A 
boat load was 80 tons, and the toll on the canal for coal was $1 per 
ton, from Cumberland to Georgetown. 

On June 2, 1842, a joint resolution was inti'oduced into the Senate 
of the United States, recommending that the stock of the United 
States and a portion of that of the cities of the District of Columbia 


be transterred to the State of Maryland, in order to enable her to 
complete the canal. This resolution was introduced on the strength' 
of a report made by the Committee on Roads and Canals, which 
summarized the history of the subscription to the stock of the com- 
pany, showing- that, up to January, 1842, there had been subscribed 
the following amounts: By the United States, $1,000,000; by Mary- 
laud, $5,000,000; by Virginia, |250,000; by Washington, $1,000,000; by 
Georgetown, $250,000; by Alexandria, $250,000; and by sundry indi- 
viduals, $457,518.36. Of these various sums all had been paid, except 
$151,881.36, which was due from some of the individual subscribers. 
The State of Maryland was also credited with $43,280 on account of 
a debt due that State from the old Potomac Company, which surren- 
dered its charter to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Compauy, and 
also with the sum of $120,444.44 on account of 220 shares of stock 
transferred from the Potomac Company to that State, making $163,- 
724.44. The canal company also owed the State $2,000,000, loaned 
under authority of an act of 1834. The report in which these facts 
were submitted was very long, and recommended that Congress deal 
liberally with the State of Maryland, as she would be the greatest 
sulterer if the canal were not completed, because she was the greatest 
stockholder, and suggested that the $1,000,000 of stock of the United 
States, and $750,000 of the $1,500,000 of stock deposited with the 
Secretary of the Treasury of the United States by the cities of Wash- 
ington, Georgetown, and Alexandria, be returned to the cities of the 
District. The favor thus suggested to the three cities was because they 
had surt'ered severely by the losses sustained by them in the payment 
of interest and expenses on the Holland loan, the cit}- of Washington 
having paid on her })ortion of the debt $449,650, Georgetown $116,795, 
and Alexandria $111,715, an aggregate amount of $678,160. The 
committee proposed, therefore, l)y way of indemnitj- to the cities, 
the redelivery of the remaining $750,000, deposited with the Secretary 
of the Treasury under the act of Congress of May 20, 1836, — to the 
city of Washington, $500,000; and to the other two cities, each 
$125,000. The question of consent to the joint resolution was sub- 
mitted to the Boards of Aldermen and Common Council of Washington 
July 1, 1842, and received their assent. The outcome of this movement 
will appear later in these pages. 

On December 3, 1842, the Hon. M. C. Sprigg, who had been 
reelected to the presidency of the company in the preceding June, 
resigned his position, and was succeeded by Major-General William 
Gibbs Mcl^eill. With reference to the resignation of Colonel Sprigg, 


tlie Baltimore Patriot said, that the canal could have been completed 
under him if his political opponents had extended to him the conti- 
dence and assistance to wiiich his elevated character entitled him; but 
these were withheld, it believed, merely from party purposes. And it 
was hoped that the distinguished engineer that succeeded him would 
not encounter similar opposition. 

On January 2, 1843, the Common Council of Washington took 
up the question of the surrender of its stock, and discussed it more 
fully than before. Mr. Haliday introduced the following resolution: 

" Whereas, The Governor of the State of Maryland, in a letter 
to the President of the United States, which was communicated to 
Congress January 1, 1840, recpiesting a surrender to the State of 
Maryland of the stock of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company 
belonging to the United States, and to the cities of Washington, 
Georgetown, and Alexandria; and 

"Whereas, This corporation, by its committee, on the 11th of 
March, 1840, presented to both Houses of Congress, a remonstrance 
ao'ainst the surrender, so far as related to the stock owned by this 
corporation; which remonstrance, among the many facts and arguments 
it contains to show that Maryland is not entitled to any bonus or 
o-ratuity, especially at the expense of the people of this city, proves 
that whatever loss has arisen from delay in the completion of the 
canal is attributable solely to the legislation of that State. On this 
subject the remonstrance says: 'The State of Maryland originally 
embarked in tliis enterprise, as the corporation did, under the impres- 
sion that a canal suited to its purposes could be constructed at an 
expense entirely within the means then estimated. But this was no 
favorite project with her legislators or with her people. They looked 
to another avenue and another great outlet for her exhaustless mineral 
wealth, which should lead directly to her city, Baltimore; and as it 
early ascertained that no route for a canal to that citj' could be 
found except through the District of Columbia, all her energies were 
directed to the railroad. Her legislation and the political power of the 
State w^ere equally devoted to this object. She granted a most 
favorable charter to the railroad com[)any, and the lirst serious 
obstacle to the progress of the canal is to be clearly traced to that 
legislation. The work of the canal was obstructed in most vexatious, 
tedious, and most expensive litigation, producing a train of evils 
from wliich the canal company never recovered. But the greatest 
injury was in the progress of the work itself, and the discouragements 
produced by the delay. The history of her subsequent legislation 

77x\LySP(^R TAT/ON. 309 

shows liow regardless she was of these injuries, mid how pertinaciously 
she adliered to her original design of diverting all the trade of the 
I'otomac, and all the vast products of the region watered by its 
tributaries, from its natural channel, and to force it to Baltimore. 
Year after year, while this corporation was exhausting its means and 
oppressing its citizens to carry on the canal, Maryland was taxing the 
ingenuity of her ablest men to defeat the canal, demanding the riglit 
to cut a canal through this city, and in ever}' way seeking to secure to 
lierself every advantage from the investment of this corporation, and 
never relaxing these efforts until she was well assured that this was 
the only practicable means of bringing into use the great wealth of 
her mountains.' 

"And whereas, Congress, satisfied with the justice of the position 
assumed by the corporation of Washington in the defense of its rights 
and those of its citizens, and of the injustice of the State of Maryland 
in asking for a surrender of their property; and 

"Whereas, A joint resolution having been presented in tlie Senate 
of the United States in December, 1841, soliciting tlie surrender to the 
State of Maryland of the canal stock owned by this city, as previouslj- 
required by the Governor of the State, a remonstrance on tlie part of 
this corporation was again laid before the Senate by the Mayor of this 
city, which remonstrance is in the following words: 

"'The original subscriptions to the stock of the Chesapeake and 
Ohio Canal Company, made in 1827 and 1828, were as follows: [Tliese 
have been previously presented.] 

"'In the year 1834, the State of Maryland made a further subscri[)- 
tion of $125,000 to the stock of the company, payable in five pei' cent, 
bonds, which yielded the company only |120,000, a loss of $5,000. In 
1835, the State made a loan to the company in six per cent, bonds of 
$2,000,000 on the condition that the State should have the privilege 
of converting this loan into stock of the company at any time within 
a year after the canal should be completed; that until that time the 
books of the company should be closed, and no other subscriptions 
received; that for the payment of the principal and interest of this 
loan the whole property of the com[)any should be mortgaged to the 
State, and that the bonds should be sold at a premium of fifteen per 
cent., to be paid to the State. The bonds actually sold for more than 
fifteen per cent., which went into tiie State treasury, and the six per 
cent, interest has been paid to her up to the year 1840. In 1836, tlie 
State authorized a further subscription to the company of $3,000,000 in 


six per cent, bonds, on the conditions that the Baltimore and Ohio Rail- 
road Company should be allowed to construct its works where the law 
had denied it the right to do so; that the bonds should produce twenty 
per cent, premium to the State, and that the })roperty of the company 
should be mortgaged to insure and pay her six per cent, interest on 
the subscription, tlius making herself a preferred stockholder, in posi- 
tive violation of the charter, which [)rovides that all the stockholders 
should share equally in all })rotits, according to their respective shares. 
These bonds, it is to be further observed, could not be nuide avaihible 
to the company for three years, and then only yielded |2,464,000, the 
company losing half a million on them. 

'"In 1839, the State made a further subscription of $1,375,000, 
payable in live per cent, sterling bonds at par, the State taking a 
further mortgage to secure a dividend of six per cent, on this sub- 
scription, in violation of the charter, as in the other case, wliile the 
sale of the bonds yielded to the company only seventy-seven [ter 
cent, on the nominal value, a further loss of $317,000. 

"'This subscription, as well as the preceding one, of ^3,000,000, 
was resisted by the corporation of Washington, but it was forced on 
the com})any, with its onerous conditions, by the almost solid vote of 
the State of Maryland herself, which then had a majority of the stock. 

"'Coupled with the act authorizing the last subscription was a 
direction to the Governor to ask of Congress a surrender to the State 
of the $2,500,000 of stock original!}' subscribed by the United States, 
and the corporations of Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria, and 
if granted, the State pledged herself to buy out all individual stock- 
holders at tifty per cent. On the 23d of February, 1841, fifteen days 
after the Senate of the United States had passed a resolution giving 
her the said $2,500,000 of stock and had sent it to the House of 
Ke|)resentatives for concurrence, and wlien it was expected that the 
House also would pass the bill, a bill was introduced into the Senate 
of Maryland and instantly passed both branches of the legislature, 
quietly revoking this obligation to which she had pledged herself to 
Congress, to i)ay the private individuals lifty per cent. This repealing 
bill was in the following brief and unostentatious form: 

"'"A SuppLExMENT to the Act I'assed at the Session of Decendjcr, 1838, 
Chapter 396, Entitled, 'An Act Kelating to the Chesapeake and 
Ohio Canal Company': 

"'"i?(! it enacted, That the second and third sections of said act 
be, and the same are hereby, repealed." 

TR.ixspoR T.i rroN. 311 

" ' Fortmuitcly, tlic surrciuler of our stock did not [lass the House 
<jt" l\0[)resenttitives, iiiid this net of the Legishiture of ^laryhiud releas- 
ing the State from her obligation was of no avail. We make no 
comment on this proceeding. 

"'The proposition for this surrender has, however, been renewed, 
and is now again before the Senate; but if that honorable body will 
look into the relative exertions, sufferings, and claims of the several 
classes of partners in the canal company, it is believed that the State 
of Maryland will be found to possess less title to this great boon than 
others, and to grant which, while it would be signally unjust to lier 
suffering copartners, would, in fact, not afford her the least aid in com- 
pleting the canal. The impulse given bj' the subscriptions, corporate 
and private, of the District of Columbia, was mainly instrumental in 
starting the work, and while the corporation of Washington and its 
citizens subscribed $1,500,000, the State of Maryland took but half a 
million. The United States, it is true, assumed the principal of the 
corporation subscriptions, but from borrowing money to pay the annual 
interest on the subscription before the transfer, a debt of nearl}' halt 
a million was incurred, and is now established on the city, and while 
Maryland has been exacting of the company an illegal paj'ment of six 
per cent, profit on the greater portion of her subscription to the work 
running through her own State, and for her own [)eculiar benefit, the 
poor citizens of Washington have been sinking the interest on their 
subscriptions for fourteen years, and can never receive one farthing 
on their stock until the State of Maryland shall have first received six 
per cent, on her immense investment. Under these circumstances 
Maryland asks Congress to strip the corporation of Washington of 
$1,000,000 of stock which it subscribed, leaving the cit}' encumbered 
with an enormous debt of half a million of dollars as its only reward 
for giving the first effective impulse to a work of which Maryland 
herself is ever to reap the ciiief benefit. 

'"In addition to all this, when Maryland was pressing her petition 
on Congress to grant to her the above $2,500,000 of stock, her legisla- 
ture passed an act (to wit: at the session of 1840-41) ordering a fore- 
closure of the mortgage, imposed by her own vote on the company, to 
secure her preferred dividend of six per cent, on her subscription. 

'"In behalf of the Committee of the Corporation of Washington, 

"'W. W. Seaton, Chairman.' 

"And WHEREAS, Xo infornuition has been submitted to this board since 
January, 1842, tending to show the justice or propriety of making at this 


time tlie transfer of the city to the State of Maryhmd, and thereb\' leav- 
ing a debt of half a million of dollars, with an annual interest of |30,000, 
to be borne by the people of the city, with no provision for the payment 
of the princi[)al or interest but by taxes upon tbeir property; and, 

"Whereas, On the 1st of July, 1842, the Board of Aldermen 
passed a resolution and sent it to this board, seeking a concurrence, 
which resolution is now pending in this board, giving the assent of 
this corporation to the passage by Congress of a joint resolution before 
Congress wherel)y it is proposed to transfer as a gratuity to the State 
of Maryland ^500,000 of the $1,000,000 of the stock subscribed and 
paid for by the corporation and now held by the United States' on 
certain conditions, and u[ion which this cor})oration has paid, besides 
the $1,000,000, in interest, etc., nearly $700,000; and, 

"Whereas, on the 2d of June, 1842, a joint committee was ap- 
liointed by the two boards to attend the meetings of the Chesapeake 
and Ohio Canal Company and vote on the above-mentioned stock, 
which committee, since their appointment, have attended several meet- 
ings of the company, at the last of which it is understood measures 
were adopted of great interest to the stockholders in general — measures 
which the committee appointed on the part of this board declared, in 
a debate in this chamber on the 12th of December last, would render 
it unnecessary to sacrifice the rights and interests of a part of the 
stockholders to complete the canal to Cumberland; and 

"Whereas, It is indispensably necessary to the members of this 
board, before they can with due regard to the interests of their con- 
stituents proceed to act on a subject of so great im})ortance as to 
give away to the State of Maryland without an equivalent the stock 
of this corporation, on the pretense that it is necessary in order to 
induce her to complete the canal, to have a full knowledge of all the 
proceedings referred to; and 

" Whereas, The Board of Aldermen rejected the joint resolution 
calling upon the committee for a rc}>ort of the proceedings of the 
meetings of tlie stockholders which they attended as representatives 
of this corporation; therefore, 

''Rcsolred, That the committee appointed on the part of this board, 
who attended said meetings, be requested and is herel)y directed to 
communicate to this board at the earliest convenient moment a state- 
ment in full of the proceedings of said meetings, embracing the means 
adopted by the com[)any to complete the canal, and which, in his 
opinion, will render it unnecessary to sacritice the interests of a por- 
tion of the stockholders to complete the object." 

'rA\LVSP()R TA TION. 313 

This resolution was then liiid on the tal)le \)\ a vote ot" 12 to 4. 
In re[)Iy, however, to the resolution, Lewis Johnson, who attended the 
meetings of the canal company on the part of the Board of Common 
Council, published a statement in which he said that he had not 
asserted that measures were adopted that would render it unnecessary 
to sacrifice the interests of a portion of the stockholders in order to 
complete the canal; but that he had expressed the sanguine hope, 
which he entertained, that the course adopted by the convention 
would prove to be the foundation of measures which would lead to 
the completion of the canal to Cumberland. 

i^otwithstanding the strong reasons furnished by the above report, 
which, as has been said, was laid upon the table, the two boards of 
the city's government assembled at the call of the Mayor for the 
purpose of taking decided steps in reference to the i)roposed transfer 
of stock, and adopted the following ordinance: 

^'^ Resolced, By the Aldermen and Common Council of the City of 
Washington, that the assent of this corporation be, and the same is 
hereby, given to the transfer of the stock originally subscribed by this 
city to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, as [)roposed by and 
upon the terms, conditions, and restrictions contained in the joint 
resolution introduced in the Senate of the United States from the 
committee on roads and canals, on the 2d day of June, 1842, entitled 
'A Joint Resolution Directing the Transfer of the Stock Held by the 
United States in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company to the 
State of Maryland, and the Cities of Washington, Georgetown, and 
Alexandria': Provided, It shall l)e further conditioned, that the State 
of Maryland shall cancel and abandon all mortgages or liens which 
the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company may have executed to said 
State, and all claims to priority under said mortgages executed by 
said company to tlie said State in the year 1835, for a loan of 
$2,000,000, and shall agree not at any time to foreclose the last- 
mentioned mortgage, or any other mortgage or mortgages which may 
be executed to the State of Maryland by the Chesapeake and Ohio 
Canal Company, so as to divest the State of Virginia, the said 
cities, corporations, or individuals, of their respective proportions of 
stock now held by them, or hereinafter to be held in the manner and 
under the circumstances mentioned in the said joint resolution.*' 

This ordinance was adopted January 14, 1843, and was signed 
b}' all the proper otiicials. The Senators and Representatives in Con- 
gress from Maryland agreed to support a joint resolution embodying 
the above couditious. 


Ill July, 1843. the president of the canal company, General Wil- 
liam Gibbs NcNeill, made a contract for the completion of the canal 
between dam Xo. 6 and Cumberland, with Thomas W. Letsou and 
John liuttcr, which contract having been made on his own sole 
authority, and not by the directors, or a majority of them, as required 
by the charter of the company, the contract was disapproved by the 
directors, and General McNeill resigned his position as president, 
July ll>, 1843, and was succeeded by Colonel James M. Coale. About 
this time an arrangement was made with the Baltimore and Ohio 
Railroad Comjiany to carry coal from Cumberland to dam No. 6, 
whence it was carried to the District of Columbia by the canal. This 
afforded an excellent op}iortunity for the introduction of Allegheny 
coal into this market. Colonel Coale was reelected president of the 
company, June 4, 1844. 

The delay in the work of completing the canal was to some 
inexplicable, while it was understood by others. William l^rice, in 
writing on this subject, quoted from the reports of the Baltimore and 
Ohio Raih'oad Company as follows: 

"The canal has progressed too far and combines too many 
interests to warrant the belief that it will not, at an early day, be 
completed to Cumberland; and if the railroad be permitted to linger 
for any great length of time at that point, all must see that for the 
transportation of merchandise and produce to and from the west, 
the canal must become a formidable rival. 

"Reaching Cumberland in wagons across the mountains, a choice 
must then be made between the canal and the railroad, and in either 
event commissions for handling and forwarding must be paid. A 
selection of the cheapest route for the }>ort of ex[)ortation may be 
ex[)ected, and therefore, unless the railroad consents to reduce its 
charges below the point of proHt, Baltimore may be deprived of the 

The enormous cost of the work thus far was |13,915,469, while 
according to the estimate of General Barnard it should have cost 
only |9, 105,457. But of this excess $2,(316,744 was easily accounted 
for, and ought to be deducted from the $4,720,012 which had been 
expended over and above the estimate of General Barnard. The 
smaller sum mentioned here as easily accounted for, was accounted in 
the following manner: Almost at the outset, the work was stopped 
by the injunction of the railroad company at the Point of Rocks for 
more than three years, and then again, when it reached dam Xo. 5, it 
stood still for nearly two years more. Afterwards it was interrupted. 


checked, and partially stop[)ed, the njere appearance o'i a force being 
sustained upon the line. Then it was carried on under great difficulty 
for about three years, and again totally suspended in 1841, remaining 
in that condition until August, 1844. Then, after the State had 
subscribed its S3,000,000 and its $1,375,000, the prices of labor uncx- 
[jcctedl}' rose fully forty per cent., so that connnon laborers were paid 
$1.25 per day. Again, when the laborers could not be paid in 
full, the}' formed combinations against the contractors, who were in 
consequence compelled to abandon their sections. Then the pa3'ments 
of the company, even in its l)est days, were often made in scrip, which 
added to the cost. All these and other circumstances were surely 
sufficient to account for at least a portion of the excess over the 
estimate of General Barnard. 

An act was passed by the Legislature of Maryland, March 11, 
1845, for the completion of this canal, which required a guaranty 
for tiie annual transportation upon the canal from Cumberland to 
Georgetown, after its completion, of one hundred and ninety-five 
thousand tons per 3'ear. An ordinance was passed by tlie corporation 
of Washington, April 15, 1845, agreeing to indemnify any citizen or 
citizens of Washington who should become guaranty for tlie trans- 
})ortation of twenty-five thousand tons. The company was also 
authorized to issue bonds to complete the canal, and in consequence 
of giving this authority, the two boards of tlie corporation of Wash- 
ington, on August 4, 1845, passed a resolution requesting the Mayor 
to appoint a committee of two citizens from each ward to invite 
individuals to make investments in the company's bonds. The next 
day the Mayor appointed the following gentlemen as the committee: 
First Ward, S. II. Smith and William Easby; Second Ward, Lewis 
Johnson and John Sessford; Third Ward, G. C. Grammer and J. W. 
Maury; Fourth Ward, B. B. French and J. P. Ingle; Fifth Ward, 
J. 0. Fitzpatrick and Thomas Blagden; Sixth Ward, A. II. Lawrence 
and James Tucker. 

In consequence of the above-recited action of the Legislature 
of Maryland and of the popular movements incited thereby, the com- 
pany was enabled in September, 1845, to make a contract with Walter 
Gwynn and others, to complete the canal to Cumbei'land, the work to 
be done within two years. The work was to be begun within thirty 
days from September 25. At the time this contract was made there 
were eigliteen and three-tentlis miles of the canal to Ijc completed, 
the contract price for which was 11,(125,000. 

April 14, 1847, the corporation of Wasliiiigton passed an act to 


aid the company to complete tlie canal to Cumberland, by which 
the proposition was to exchange 150.000 in the stock of the corpora- 
tion, bearing- six per cent, interest, redeemable at the pleasure of the 
corporation, for $50,000 of the stock of the canal company bearing 
six })er cent, interest, provided that the contractors should show to 
the satisfaction of the committee appointed to transact the business, 
that with the aid of this $50,000 sufhcient funds had been secured to 
complete the canal, and that the interest on the bonds would be 
punctually paid. 

On October 10, 1850, after many delays, the canal was opened 
to Cundjerland, and water communication was thus opened from that 
point to the three cities in the District of Columbia. The ceremonies 
at Cumberland were of a ver}' interesting nature. William Price 
delivered the address. The first boat from Cumberland, loaded with 
coal, reached Georgetown November 1, 1850, "and yet we hail its 
advent with no rejoicings, and welcome the event witli no show of 
joy,'' etc. The basin at Georgetown was dry, alul everything at 
the lower end of the canal was out of order. The Chesa[>eake and 
Ohio Company not being able to put it in order, the corporation of 
Washington appropriated $1,500 toward that end on December 5, 1850. 

February 28, 1851, at a meeting at Gadsby's Hotel, Samuel 
Sprigg, of Maryland, was elected president of the company, to succeed 
General Coale, resigned. March 14, 1851, the appropriation of Decem- 
ber 5, 1850, was increased to $3,000, and the president and directors 
of the compau}- were tendered the use of rooms in the basement of 
the (yity Hall, in case they should remove the offices of the company 
to Washington. 

By November 12, 1851, the canal was completed from end to 
end, and from fort}- to fifty boats had arrived with coal from 
Cumberland, some of them carr3ing as mucli as one hundred and 
twenty-five tons. Wheat at that time coming in on the canal sold at 
eighty-five cents per bushel. There were then two passenger boats 
running, and one other ready to be added, and there was plentj' of 
custom for them all. One of the features of interest connected with 
the canal was the steam tug Virginia, owned by R. S. Deni}' & 
Company, of Worcester, Massachusetts, put upon the canal for the 
purpose of towing boats, and on November 17 it was said that up 
to tliat time the experiment had worked well. The Virf/inla could 
easily tow six boats at a time. Her paddle wheels were so constructed 
that the recoil was reduced to a minimum, and, in fact, was almost 

rR.l\SPORT.^T/OA\ 317 

The steam canal boat President arrived August 10, 1852, at 
Georgetown from Cumberland. Tliis boat belonged to Ward's line, and 
had two })ropellers, worked by a twelve liorse-i)Owei- steam engine. 
She traveled six miles per lic)ur without injury to tlie banks of the 
canal. She was eighty-eigiit feet long by twelve feet beam, and 
commenced running regular tri[)S from Georgetown to Harper's Ferry 
and Cumberland August 23, 1852. For tlie year 1852, the tonnage 
of the canal was as follows: Ascending, 16,226 tons; descending, 
151,369 tons; total, 167,595 tons. The tolls amounted to !8;92,248.90. 

Other eitbrts to use steamboats on this canal were subsequently 
made, but none of them were entirelj' satisfactory, no matter liow 
promising they at first appeared. The canal steamer James L. 
Caihcart made a trial trip June 30, 1857, from Georgetown to Alex- 
andria, her speed being tive miles per liour. October 26, 1858, this 
propeller made a trip from Cumberland to Georgetown in sixty-four 
and a half hours, the quickest trip made up to that time. 

To close this account of tlie construction of the Chesapeake and 
Ohio Canal, the following statement is interesting. It shows the stock 
and debts of the company and the actual cost of the canal, exclusive 
of interest on |3,71 8,000: Preferred debt, $3,837,651; stock not belong- 
ing to the State, $3,718,000; State stock, bonds, and interest, $9,049,000; 
State loss by interest paid on bonds for its stock, |5, 000, 000; total, 

A brief account of the Washington Canal is here inserted. It 
was a project early contemplated, as on September 1, 1792, proposals 
for cutting it were received. The proposals were to cut it from tide 
water in the Tiber to tide water in James Creek, a length of about 
one and one-eighth miles;' its breadth at the bottom to l)e 12 feet, 
and at the top 15 feet. The depth was not to be uniform, but the 
greatest depth was not to exceed 12 feet, and the bottom was designed 
to be two feet below ordinary low water. Mr. Ilerbaugh calculated 
the cut to contain 21,760 solid yards, but not relying implicitly on 
Mr. Ilerbaugh's calculations, tlie commissioners proposed to pay by 
the cubic yard. This was the beginning of the enterprise. Not to 
dwell too long on the details of the history of this canal, as it was 
never of much commercial value to the city, but was a great expense, 
and tow\ard the last, at least, when the city had become one of 
considerable size, a great nuisance, it is deemed sufficient to sum- 
marize its liistory, and give a general description of it as it was 
when completed. It commenced at the lock of the Georgetown Canal 
near the foot of Seventeenth Street, forminc'- a laro-e trianjj-ular basin 


called "The Month of the Tiber." Between that street and West 
Fifteenth Street it ran tVoni the eastern extremity of the basin along 
jSTorth I) Street to a point between West Seventh Street and Sixth 
Street, a distance of abont 5,200 feet. Here it took a southern course 
for about 775 feet. Again turning to the east and after ruuning 1,570 
feet it came to West Third Street. It then turned south and ran to 
Maryland Avenue, a distance of 623 feet, and there shunting otf 
toward the southeast for a distance of 2,365 feet it reached South 
Capitol Street, along whicli it ran 705 feet to a point below 
AHrginia Avenue. It then ran 1,988 feet to Second Street East, where 
it took a southern course down to the Eastern Branch, a distance of 
2,100 feet, making the entire length of the canal 15,326 feet. 

Tiie breadth of the canal at its eastern extremity was 150 feet; from 
the first bend down to Maryland Avenue it was 70 feet wide; from this 
point down to South N Street it was 40 feet wide; below the bridge 
across New Jersey Avenue it was 19 feet wide; and south of South 
N Street it formed a basin 100 feet wide. The sole of the canal was 
originally four feet Ijelow low water, and either level or very iiearl}' so. 

A great deal of money was expended from time to time on tliis 
canal, but it was never made of much use for the original purposes 
for which it was constructed, viz., that of affording means of trans- 
poi'ting goods into the center of the cit}'; and at length, when the 
era of improvement came upon the city, in 1871, the canal, as has 
been said in another chapter, was cleaned out and arched over, and 
converted into a sewer, one of the largest in the world, so that now 
it is serving a most useful purpose. 

The history of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad commences, like 
that of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, in the old Potomac Company; 
hence this connection between the two is here briefly related. The 
commissioners who were appointed, in 1822, to examine the state of 
navigation of the Potomac River, pointed out the advantages of a 
continuous canal from Cundjerland to tide water, to be connected with 
Baltimore by a, lateral canal from the Monocacy or Seneca, or by an 
extension through the District of Columbia. In 1825, Mar^dand 
assented to the act incorporating the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal 
Com}»any, with a reservation of the right to construct any lateral 
canal whatever within her own territory, and upon the expressed 
condition that Congress should provide some safe or practicable mode 
whereby the right should be secured to her of constructing a canal to 
Baltimore, from that part of the main canal which should be in the 
District of Columl>ia. In 1826, Maryland authorized a subscription of 


$500,000 to the capitul stock of the inuiii camil, and the same amount 
to the stock of the company for making or extending the canal to 
the city of Baltimore, upon the condition that Congress should 
subscribe $1,000,000 to the eastern section, and l)y law expressly 
secure to lier the right to take and continue the canal aforesaid; and 
})rovided further, that the practicability of constructing the canal to 
Baltimore should be demonstrated. 

In 1827, Congress not having subscribed, and General Barnard, 
with the corps of United States engineers, after making the surve}' 
of the route for the canal with scientific precision, having estimated 
the entire cost to be $22,375,427.69, and that of the first section 
alone from Cumberland to tide water, in the District of Columbia, 
at $8,177,081.05; and it being also ascertained by the survey of 
Dr. Howard that it was impracticable to make a lateral canal to 
Baltimore by any of the routes through Montgomery County, as 
proposed by the commissioners in 1822, and that the extension of the 
main canal through the District of Columbia would cost $3,000,000, 
all hope began to abate of accomplishing the object by means of a 
canal; and it was then that Maryland gave her countenance to the 
aid of a railroad, coming before her, as it did, with the experience of 
Europe to prove the practicability of such a road. In consequence 
of the use of steamboats and other improved facilities opened by 
New York and Pennsylvania for the purpose of securing the trade 
and commerce of the great and growing West, the trade of Balti- 
more was at that time notably diminishing. Baltimore, therefore and 
thereupon, took hold of the building of the Baltimore and Ohio 
Railroad, from that city to the Point of Hocks, and ultimately to 
some point on the Ohio River. Philip E. Thomas, who was then com- 
missioner on the part of the State of Mai'yland in the Chesapeake and 
Ohio Canal Company, resigned that position, and in connection with 
George Brown, devoted himself thenceforth to the formation of the 
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. George Brown was a brother 
of William Brown, afterward a member of the English Parliament, 
and was frequently in receipt from this English brother of documents 
containing much valuable information on the progress of the Manches- 
ter and Liverpool Railroad. Mr. Thomas also had a brother, Evan 
Thomas, of Baltimore, who was then in England, and who there 
collected many facts relative to the successful operation of the maii\' 
short railroads then in existence in England, which facts he sent to 
liis brother in this countrj'. These facts and (h^cuments, upon being 
compared b}^ Philip E. Thomas and George Brown, led them to tlie 


conclusion that a railroad could be built and made practicable between 
Baltimore and the Western waters, and that on the early consumma- 
tion of this enterprise depended the future commercial prosperit}' of 

A meeting was therefore called, to be held at the residence of 
Mr. Brown on February 12, 1827, "to take into consideration the best 
means of restoring to the city of Baltimore that portion of the western 
trade which has latel}' been diverted from it by the introduction of 
steam navigation, and by other causes." The facts and documents 
above referred to, illustrating the efHciency of railroads for conveying 
articles of heavy carriage at small expense, were presented to the 
meeting, which became convinced that this mode of transportation 
was far superior to either common turnpike roads or canals, and a 
committee was appointed to collate and report upon the facts so 
presented, and to recommend the best course to be pursued to 
accomplish the object proposed. This committee was composed of 
Philip E. Thomas, George Brown, Benjamin C. Howard, Talbot 
Jones, Joseph W. Patterson, Evan Thonuxs, and John V. L. McMahon. 
Their report, a verj' able document, was presented to an adjourned 
meeting, held February 19, 1827. In this report they stated that even 
then 2,000 miles of railroad were "completed or in a rapid progress 
in that country, and that they had fully answered the most sanguine 
expectations of their projectors"; and they recommended "a double 
railroad" from Baltimore to the Ohio River. Mar\'land, in view of 
the activity of her citizens, incorporated the Baltimore and Ohio 
Railroad Companj', in Februar}', 1827, and at the same time repealed 
the condition of her subscri[)tion to the canal, that Congress should 
subscribe to the eastern section thereof. March 8, 1827, the charter of 
the company was enacted by Virginia, and on the 24th of April, the 
stock of the company having been subscribed, the company itself was 
organized, with the following directors: Charles Carroll of Car- 
rollton, William Patterson, Ro])ert Oliver, Alexander Brown, Isaac 
McKim, William Lorman, George Hoffman, Philip E. Thomas, Thomas 
EUicott, John B. Morris, Talbot Jones, William Steuart. Philip 
E. Thomas was elected president of the compau}', and George Brown 

Upon application to the General Government a corps of engi- 
neers was deputed to survey a route for the railroad, consisting of 
Captain William Gibbs McNeill, Lieutenants Joshua Barney, Isaac 
Trimble, Richard E. Ilazzard, William Cook, Walter Gvvynn, and 
John L. Dillahunty, of the United States artillery, and William Ilar- 


risoii, Jr., assisttint engiiicer. The compuiiy's engineers were Colonel 
Stephen II. Long unci Jonathan Knight. 

On June 20, following, these engineers commenced their reconnois- 
ance preparatory to selecting the route and site for the road. February 
28, 1828, Pennsylvania chartered the railroad company in tlnit State, 
and on March 3 Maryland, mainly through the efforts of .John V . L. 
McMahon, authorized tlie subscription of half a million of dollars, on the 
condition that the company locate the road so that it should go to or 
strike the Potomac Kiver at some point between the mouth of the Mono- 
cacy River and the town of Cumberland, in Allegheny County, and that 
it go into Frederick, Washington, and Allegheny counties. The United 
States engineers, on April 5, recommended that the route of tlie rail- 
road from Baltimore should be along the valley of tiie Patapsco, and 
then to the Point of Rocks, and afterward the company's engineers con- 
firmed this opinion, saying that the route by the valley of the Potomac 
possessed many advantages in respect to economy of construction, cost 
of motive power, and pi'ospective commercial advantages. Agents were 
therefore sent out to secure the title to the lands along the proposed 
route, along which, however, there was but little clioice to be iiad. 

The subscription books of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Com- 
pany were closed March 31, 1827, on which day there were taken 
13,387 shares, making in all 41,788 shares taken, of which 5,000 shares 
had been taken by the city of Baltimore. The amount of monc}' 
subscribed in Baltimore alone w\as $4,178,800, divided among 22,000 
persons or names. 

The Baltimoreans were really in earnest, it began to be discovered, 
about this railroad business, for by April 30, 1828, they were devising 
a railroad from Baltimore to Wasliington. They applied to Congress 
to allow them to make that part of it falling within tiie limits of the 
District of Columbia on terms similar to those granted them in 
the State of Maryland, the charge on the transportation of goods to 
be not more than one cent per ton per mile for toll, and tliree cents 
per ton per mile for transportation, and for passengers it was not to 
exceed tliree cents per mile. 

On the 4th of July, 1828, the corner stone of tlie Baltimore and 
Ohio Railroad was laid by the venerable Charles Cai'roll, in tlie 
presence of many thousands of people. 

In January, 1829, four of "Winan's wagons" were put to work 
on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, on a part of the road where 
there was a curve of about five or six hundred feet radius; and, while 
the rails made only a temporary road, and were not true, either 


horizontal 1}' or on the curve, yet upon this road a horse (h-e\v these 
four wagons, loaded with gravel and sand which, together with the 
wagons, weighed fifteen tons, hackward and forward upon the road 
with ease; and it would therefore ap})ear that upon a road properly 
graded and graduated, one horse could perform the work of thirty 
horses on a common turnpike road. 

For some time after work on this railroad commenced, the question 
of the use of locomotives remained unsolved. In March, 1829, their 
engineers were in England, observing the success of railroads in that 
country. Their attention was given particularly to locomotives, and 
they found that they could be used where the ascent was as much as 
72 feet per mile. On a part of the Killingsworth Railroad, where the 
inclination was 50 feet per mile, a locomotive descended with 20 loaded 
cars and ascended with the same number of empty ones. On the 
Stockton and Darlington Railroad they saw a locomotive of ten horse- 
power descend a slope of 10 feet })er mile with a train of 12 loaded 
cars at 15 miles per hour, and return with the same wagons loaded at 
the rate of 10 miles per hour. The weight of each wagon was 25 
hnndred-weight, and the load of coal weighed 53 hundred-weight, or 
in other words, the load was in the aggregate 45 tons. From obser- 
vations such as these, it became evident that the }»ower on railroads 
would soon be furnished by steam. 

In January, 1831, application was made to Congress, by the 
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, for permission to extend their 
road to the District of Columbia; bnt in this connection it was 
readily seen that if this company should be granted that privilege, the 
Washington Turnpike Company would be ruined. This company, 
some fifteen years previous to the time of asking for the privilege of 
extending the railroad, that is, in about 1815, when it was dangerous 
to attempt to travel over the wretched road then connecting Baltimore 
and Washington, and when at the best the journey took the better 
part of two days, had at great expense constructed their turnpike, and 
had accommodated the public in many ways. The turnpike had been 
largely advantageous to the two cities, and, in fact, to the entire 
country between them adjacent to the turnpike, and to everybody but 
to the stockholders themselves, who, a writer in the National Intelli- 
gencer said, did not for the first twelve years after constructing the 
road receive a cent in dividends; but tliat for the few years previous 
to 1830, the road had yielded something in the way of dividends; and 
then the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Coni[)any "very modestly" came 
forward and proposed to make a raih'oad piirallel to the tnrnpike, thus 

TRANSP(y^ T.l TfON. 3^3 

nu)ii()})oliziiiii; u rich luirvost and at tlie same time ruining- the 
turnpike company. Such a course, though abstractly lei!;al, was thought 
by some to be eminently unjust, inequitable, and impolitic; and hence 
it was argued that if Congress should give the Baltimore and Ohio 
Railroad Company the privilege of constructing its railroad from 
Baltimore to Washington, it was necessary, in order to be just, to 
compensate the turnpike company in some way for the losses that 
they would inevitably sulier. 

As has been stated, the "corner stone" of this road was laid 
July 4, 1828, and with great ceremony. During the fall of 1829, the 
laying of the rails was commenced within the city of Baltimore, 
the first rails being laid on wooden sleepers, at the eastern end of the 
Mount Clare premises, under the direction of Major George W. Whist- 
ler and John Ready. The first division of the road was opened for 
passengers May 22, 1830, and during the iirst few months afterward 
the people of Baltimore continued to throng the depot to try the 
new mode of travel; and although but one track was completed and 
the number of cars limited, and these cars drawn by horses, yet the 
receipts up to the 1st of October amounted to |20,012.86. During the 
first year, there being no settled means of [iropulsion, Evan Thomas 
constructed a sailing car, which he named "The Eolus," which 
attracted wide attention, throughout the United States, and even in 
foreign countries. December 1, 1831, the opening of the branch 
road to Frederick was celebrated, and on April 1, 1832, the whole 
line was opened to the Point of Rocks, making seventy-three miles 
of the road then finished and in operation. 

January 4, 1831, the company offered liberal inducements to the 
inventive genius and mechanical skill of the country for the produc- 
tion of locomotive steam engines. "The ]3altimore and Ohio Railroad 
Company, being desirous of obtaining a supply of locomotive engines 
of American manufacture, adapted to their road, the president and 
directors hereby give public notice that they will pay the sum of 
$4,000 for the most approved engine, which must be delivered for trial 
U[)on the road on or before the 1st of June, 1831, and they will also 
}»ay $3,500 for the engine which shall be atljudged the next best and 
be delivered as aforesaid," subject to nine separate conditions, one of 
the most notable of tliese conditions being that the engine "must not 
exceed three and a half tons in weight, and must on a level road be 
capable of drawing day by day fifteen tons, inclusive of the weight of 
the w^agons, fifteen miles per hour." The company agreed to furnish 
Winau's wagons for the test. 


The result of tliis call upon American mechanics was that three 
locomotives were produced, only one of wliich, however, answered the 
purposes of the company. This was made by Davis ct Gartner, of 
York, Pennsylvania, and was named the "York." This locomotive 
traveled between Baltimore and Ellicott's Mills, a distance of about 
12 miles, at the rate of from 15 miles per hour on curved portions 
of the road, to 30 miles per hour on straight portions of the line, 
thoui;'li it did not displace horses for some time; indeed, the demands 
upon the road for transportation of freight and passengers were so 
*'-reat that it was not for some time after this that it had locomotives 
enouo-h to allow of the doing away with horses. About October 1, 
1831, the editor of the National Intelligencer had a ride on a railroad 
car for the lirst time, and as his paper had consistently favored the 
canal in preference to the railroad, it is interesting to note the impres- 
sions made on his mind by this novel mode of travel. lie said: "We 
traveled in a large car, drawn by one horse, carrying eight or ten 
persons, capable, we suppose, of carrying thirty or forty. In the 
distance between Baltimore and EUicott's Mills the horse was changed 
but once going and coming, and in returning, the whole distance, 
thirteen miles, was traveled in tifty-nine minutes. The locomotive 
steam machine, by which cars loaded with persons are occasionally 
drawn, is propelled at about the same rate, and might be propelled 
much more rapidly if it were desirable, but for our part we have no 
desire to be carried by any mode of conveyance more than thirteen 
miles per hour. . . . And we do not think we should feel safe on a 
railroad in traveling by night at anything like that speed. . . . We 
owe it to the general reader to say that nothing occurred in the short 
examination we were able to give to the matter to change the opinion 
we have heretofore advanced of the relative value of railroads and 
canals as great highways of commerce." 

In January, 1832, the Intelligencer was still of the opinion that 
canals were much superior to railroads for all the })ur[)oses of com- 
merce. This was, however, before the locomotive had become a success 
on railroads, and this fact ought to be taken into consideration when 
reflecting upon the pertiiuicity with which many people adhered to the 
same opinion. Canals were, of course, fully developed then, while rail- 
roading was in its infancy, though this fact, so clear now, was not 
capable of recognition tlien. 

Both the Baltimore and Ohio Bailroad and the Chesa[)eake and 
Ohio Canal were delayed in their construction two or three years by 
litigation brougiit on by the latter company obtaining an injunction 


from the county court of Wushiiigton County, rcstriiiniuii' further 
proceedings of the railroad company in obtaining titles to lands over 
which their railroad must pass, and over which it had already been 
located. This was followed by the railroad company obtaining an 
injunction restraining the canal company' from taking any further 
steps in the construction or location of the canal which might render 
unavailable a decision in favor of the railroad company on the first 
injunction. And as the owner of the fee simple to the title of the 
pass of the Potomac on the Catoctin Mountain at the Point of 
Rocks, the railroad company still continued to prosecute the con- 
struction of its road at that place. Then followed a second injunction 
by the canal company, restraining the railroad company from con- 
structing the road at all in Frederick County, although the greater 
part of the railroad through that county could never come in collision 
with the canal. This last injunction was, however, afterward with- 
drawn by the canal company, so far as it related to land east of tlie 
Point of Rocks. 

In January, 1832, the Court of Appeals decided the injunction 
cases by the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company against the rail- 
road company, the decision preventing the railroad company from 
appropriating or using land for the railroad until the canal company 
should have located its canal between the Point of Rocks and Har- 
per's Ferr}^ and the progress of the railroad was thus for a time 
arrested again. The available space in the district to be preoccu}iied 
by the canal was either too nai'row to admit the parallel passage ot 
both the canal and railroad, or would at least be used b}' the canal 
company at its usual extreme breadth, and this would eftectually 
exclude the railroad. There were, therefore, but four alternative modes 
of procedure: 

1. To })rocure the permission of the canal company for the 
construction of the two works side by side from the Point of Rocks 
to Harper's Ferry. 

2. To construct the railroad alongside of the canal upon such 
site as might renuiih after the canal company had exercised its right 
of choice. 

3. To cross the Potomac at the Point of Rocks and ascend the 
valley on the Virginia side. 

4. To tunnel through the mountain spurs. 

After a great deal of trouble and delay and perverseness on the part 
of both companies, an adjustment was at length made by the passage 
of a law by the State of Maryland, March 22, 1833, by which the 


railroad com})aiiy was to pay tlie canal company $266,000 tor all claims 
under the law, which was called the compromise act, this adjustment 
l)eino- Ijrought about mainly tlirough the intluence and etibrts of Charles 
F. Mayer, ettectively assisted by B. S. Pigman, of Allegheny County. 
May 0, 1833, therefore, the canal company commenced the joint con- 
struction of the canal and railroad, from the Point of Rocks to Harper's 
Ferry, and on December 1, 1834, the road was opened for travel and 
freight transportation to Harper's Ferry. 

In the meantime, the corps of engineers, under the direction of 
Benjamin H. Latrolic, were rapidly bringing to a close the surveys 
of a branch of the road to Washington, and on March 9, 1833, an act 
was passed under which this branch was constructed, and by which 
the Washington and Baltimore Turnpike Compan}', the destruction 
of whose interests were so much feared by some, was permitted to 
subscribe for a certain amount of the stock of the railroad company. 
The bridge over the Patapsco River was immediately put under 
contract. When completed, this bridge was a magnificent granite 
viaduct, consisting of eight elliptical arches, each of tifty-eight feet 
span, with the roadway sixty-six feet above the surface of the 
water. It was designed by Benjamin II. Latrobe, and was at that 
time the largest structure of the kind in the United States. In the 
case of this viaduct, as well as that of the branch road to Washington, 
the expense of construction was actuall}' within the estimate. 

This lateral branch of the railroad from Baltimore to Washino^ton 
was in an advanced stage of progress in April, 1835. The contractor 
for that portion of it that lay within the limits of the District of 
Columbia was Mr. Ennis, who broke ground upon his portion of the 
road April 21. Mr. Belt had the contract from the limits of the Dis- 
trict to Bladensburg, and had then considerable of his work com- 
pleted. On July 1, the president and directors, together with the 
})rincipal ofiicers of the railroad, accompanied by severa;! citizens of 
Baltimore, made a tri}) of inspection over this road, coming down to 
Bladensburg, at which [)lace they were met by the Mayor of Wash- 
ington and others. The rails laid down on this branch were of 
inijiroved construction, and greatly superior to any previously in use. 
The locomotive which brought the party down from Baltimore was 
•' of great power," and each car comfortably accommodated sixty 
passengers. The road would have been completed to Washington 
by that time, but for the delay in the arrival of a cargo of iron, 
which did not sail from England until May 16, but which should have 
sniled a month earlier. On Wednesday, July 8, 1835, the company 


began rnimiiig piissenger trains between Jialtiniure and l>la(lcnsl)urg, 
passengers being taken from Washington to Bladensburg b)- stage 

"By applying our modern mode of computing distances, — l)y 
hours, instead of days and miles, — the distance between the two t;ities 
of Baltimore and Washington is henceforth to be two hours; that 
from Washington to ISTcw York, twenty-six hours; and from Wash- 
ington to Boston, forty hours! Are we in a dream?" 

On Monday, July 20, 1835, trains commenced running down to 
the District line, twice each day, occasionally making twenty miles 
per hour. The lirst locomotive run on the Baltimore and Washington 
Railroad was named the "General Washins^ton," and others succeedinic 
this one were named after the Presidents of the United States. Wil- 
liam Gwynn was the engineer of the "General Washington," which 
locomotive was a kind of marvel of the times, running thirty succes- 
sive days, conveying a train of passenger cars more than seventy miles 
per day, without requiring to be repaired! 

On August 25, 1835, occurred the opening of the Baltimore and 
Washington Railroad to Washington. "Two cars will leave the ticket 
office at the intersection of Second Street West and Pennsjdvania Ave- 
nue this day [Sunday] at 4:00 P. m., to convey the invited guests to Bal- 
timore, to join the train from Baltimore on Tuesday. A car will leave 
Washington on Tuesday morning at ten o'clock to convey the members 
of the corporations of Washington, Alexandria, and Georgetown to 
Bladensburg to meet the trains from Baltimore." August 25, 1835, 
was a great day in Washington. "It was a glorious sight to see 
four trains of cars, each with its engine, extending altogether several 
liundred yards in length, making their entry by this new route, to 
the delight of thousands, to a spectator on elevated grounds north of 
the Capitol." The number of persons brought in on the trains from 
Baltimore was about one thousand, accompanied by two brass bands. 
They marched to Gadsby's and Brown's hotels, at both of which 
bounteous and sumptuous entertainments had been provided. The 
trains arrived in AVashington about one o'clock, and started on the 
return trip about four o'clock. 

On September 15, 1835, the trains began to run on schediile 
time, leaving Washington at 0:00 a. m., and 4:30 p. .af., and leaving 
Baltimore at 8:15 a. m., and 4:00 p. m. "As there is no standard 
time in Washington, it is recommended to passengers to be at the 
de[»ot before the hours named for the departure of the cars." 

The receipts of this road for the following four months in 1830 


were as follows: April, $19,230.33; May, $22,180.45; Jnno, |18,613.01; 
July, $17,(348.07; total, $77,681.76. 

Ill July, 1842, an arrangeniont was made with Messrs. Baring 
Brothers, of London, England, by wliich they agreed to furnish the iron 
requisite to tinish the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to Cumberland, on 
a credit of seven years, $50,000 to be paid each year, thus, it was 
thought, placing the construction of the road to Cumberland to that 
point, early the ensuing fall, beyond doubt. In 1849, the road was 
extended west of Cumberland twelve miles. When it was determined 
to extend the road from Cumberland to Wheeling, T. W, Ward, 
attorney for the Barings, of London, ninler date of December 31, 
1849, telegraphed to Thomas Swann, president of the Baltimore and 
Ohio Railroad Company, "The contract is made at live pounds 
ten." Twenty-three thousand tons was the amount purchased at 
this price. 

This company, in 1851, erected some valuable improvements in 
this city: First, an engine house; second, a car house; third, the 
main building, which was 119 feet on Xew Jersey Avenue, was two 
stories high, and had a tower 100 feet high. J. II. McMachen, of 
Baltimore, su})erintcnded the work, and M. G. Emery, of Washington, 
executed the granite work. 

A most interesting experiment was made on the Baltimore and Ohio 
Railroad on the last Tuesday in April, 1851, by Professor Charles G. 
l*agc, with his electro-magnetic locomotive, running it from Washington 
to BIadensl)urg and back. It was made, however, with only half the 
power the engines and batteries were capable of yielding. Each engine 
was estimated by Professor Page at twelve horse-power, which would 
make the locomotive twenty-four liorse-power. The locomotive, with 
batteries full charged, weighed ten and a half tons. With the seven 
passengers taken on the trip it weighed eleven tons. Under the most 
favorable arrangements, eight pounds were required to start a ton on a 
perfectly level rail, and seven [)0unds would barely keep a ton in motion. 
The magnetic locomotive, the first of its kind ever made, being 
imperfect and full of stitfness in all its })arts, ran very hard. A horse- 
power, on the usual estimates, is one hundred and fifty pounds running 
two and a- lialf miles per hour, or three hundred and seventy -five 
}»ounds running one mile })er hour. Tlie speed of the magnetic 
locomotive was fifteen miles })er liour on a level road, and its traction 
was two hundred [tounds. It was therefore estimated that this 
locomotive developed eight horse-power, when in motion. But it had 
a greater power at a lower speed. After the engine was on the road 


it was found neeessury to throw out of action live of tlic helices, and 
these at the most important part of the stroke. This difficulty coukl 
not be overcome without taking out both of the engines, which 
could not be done at the time. Another difficulty encountered on 
this experimental trip was the breaking of the porous cells in the 
battery, causing a mixture of the two acids and the interception of a 
large portion of tlie power. In all, seven of the porous cells broke, 
which took away one-half of the power. Going to Cladensburg the 
locomotive was stopped live times, or the run would have been made 
in thirty minutes. One very important and interesting feature of this 
magnetic locomotive was that its reversing power was greater than its 
propelling power, nearly twice as great, in fact, which Professor 
Page had demonstrated several years before. 

In October, 1851, Professor Page presented his locomotive to the 
Smithsonian Institution, which, with its accompanying electro-magnet, 
forms one of the most prominent and interesting features in the phil- 
osophical department. This is the same engine that worked the Morse 
telegraph in 1844. It was constructed with reference to the maximum 
quantity of electricity to be obtained by magneto-electric excitement, 
to ascertain whether the electricity so obtained would be sufficient to 
operate an electro-magnetic engine, which in its turn should furnish 
sufficient magnetic power to keep the magneto-electric machine in 
motion, but it was never tested for this purpose. 

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was so far completed in De- 
cember, 1852, that the first train passed over it from Baltimore to 
Wheeling on the 31st of that month, in fifteen hours and fifteen 

On March 3, 1853, Congress passed an act providing that when- 
ever Mar\'land should incorporate a company to lay out and construct 
a railroad from any point in connection with the Baltimore and Ohio 
Railroad, at or near the Point of liocks, to Georgetown, in the District 
of CoUunbia, the right of way should be granted to such company, 
provided, that before any such road, or its depots, or its fixtures 
should be located in Georgetown, the consent of the citizens of that 
place should be obtained. May 5, 1853, the Maryland Legislature 
incorporated the Metropolitan Railroad Company, naming John W. 
Maury, W. W. Corcoran, W. VV. Seaton, David English, Francis 
Dodge, and Frederick W. Risque, of the District of Columbia; Charles 
E. Trail, Jacob M. Kenkel, and Meredith Davis, of Frederick County; 
Robert T. Dade, William Lingan Gaither, and Frances C. Cloppcr, of 
Montgomery County; David Weisel, James Wason, and Elias Davis, 


of Wusljington, as conimissiouers to receive sobscriptigns to the capital 
stock of the company, requiring them to keep the subscription books 
open, the lirst time they were open, for at least ten days; and 
then, if sufhcient subscriptions were not received, they might keep 
them open from time to time for twelve months, or until a sufficient 
amount of stock were subscribed to warrjint the organization of a 
com[)any. The capital stock was fixed at $2,000,000, in shares of $50 
each, and as soon as ten thousand shares should be subscribed the 
company was declared incorporated, by the name of the Metropolitan 
Railroad Company. 

The commissioners hckl the lirst meeting at the Union Hotel 
in Georgetown, and it was tliere determined to open books for sub- 
scriptions June 6, and to keep them open until the close of the 16th 
of the month. The banks at Washington, Georgetown, Frederick, 
Maryland, Boonesborough, and at llagerstown were to act as agents 
to receive subscriptions. The result of the subscriptions for the 
first ten days was that at Washington there were subscribed 1,806 
shares; at Georgetown, 6,7*28; at Rockville, 220; at HagerstowMi, 
216; and at Frederickstown, 115; total, 0,080. Thus there was a 
deficiency of 920 shai'es, and a necessity for a second o[»ening of 
the books. These books closed the second time on July 2, 1853, at 
which time the subscriptions stood as follows: Georgetown, 7,057; 
Washington, 2,200; Montgomery County, 388; Frederick County, 
140; Washington County, 224; total, 10,009; though in order to 
nuike up this number the commissioners from Georgetown and two 
of those from Washington, themselves, on July 5, took about 400 
shares. The counties through which the road was to pass took 
very little interest in the road, as nuiy be seen from their subscrip- 
tions. The number of shares having been subscribed, a meeting 
was held at Union Hotel July 28, for the pur[)Ose of electing twelve 
directors, who were elected, as follows: John W. Maury, W. W. 
Corcoran, George Parker, and Joseph Bryan, of Washington; David 
English, A. 11. Dodge, William M. Boyce, A. II. Pickrell, and H. C. 
Matthews, of Georgetown; F. C. Clopper, of Montgomery County; 
Meredith Davis, of Frederick County; and Daniel Weisel, of Wash- 
ington County. 

June 28, 1854, at a meeting of the directors, the report of the 
engineer on the subject of the location of the route was received, 
the following route having been selected: Leaving Georgetown on 
Prospect Street, passing around south of the college, up the Fountain 
Branch and on toward Drover's Rest; thence to the easterly part of 


Rockville; thence passiii"- on near Gaitlicrsburg, about one mile east 
of Barnesville; then passing tlie west side of Sugar-Loaf Mountain 
and running to tlie Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, about five miles 
west of Monocacy Viaduct; thence direct to Frederick; from Frederick 
to Ilagerstown by way of Getzenstanner's Gap, on the Catoctin 
Mountain, and Turner's Gap, on the South Mountain, passing east of 
Boonesborough to Ilagerstown. 

The route liaving been selected, the great question still remained, 
which could only be determined by the public, and that w^as: Slionld 
the work of construction be commenced. It could not commence 
without substantial aid from the upper counties through which it 
was to pass, and they had shown how much interest they took in the 
project by the number of shares of stock for which they had sub- 
scribed. Francis Dodge was president of the company at that time. 

In January, 1863, President Lincoln sent a message to each brancli 
of Congress on this subject. Its great benetits to Washington were 
fully and graphically set forth in the public prints, and an estimate 
was made of what it would have saved the Government had it been 
completed before the war. So far, of course, all eitbrts to construct 
this road had resulted in failure. 

July 1, 1864, an act of Congress to incorporate the Metropolitan 
Railroad Company was approved, and amended by an act approved 
March 3, 1865, three years being given in wdiich the company might 
complete the road. In March, 1865, an act was passed by the Mary- 
land Legislature naming as commissioners to receive subscriptions to 
the stock of the company, G. W. Riggs, Richard Wallach, and Henry 
Willard, of Washington; Henry Addison, Henry D. Cooke, and John 
T. Mitchell, of Georgetown; Francis C. Clopper, Walter xM. Talbott, 
Allen B. Davis, Thomas Lausdale, and Nicholas D. Ott'ut, of Mont- 
gomei'y County; and Charles E. Trail, Jacob M. Kerakel, and Robert 
H. McGill, of Frederick County, Maryland. The capital stock of the 
company w\as as before fixed at $2,000,000, in shares of $50 each, and 
when ten thousand shares were subscribed tlie commissioners were to 
call a general meeting of the subscribers for the purpose of selecting 
directors to manage the affairs of the company. 

The Metropolitan Railroad afterward became a part of the Bal- 
timore and Ohio Railroad system, and is now operated as such. It 
was completed May 28, 1873, and is forty-two and three-quarters 
miles long. 

The Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Company was orgainzed under 
a charter granted by Congress, May 6, 1853. December 18, 1858, at 


a meeting lield at U[)[)er Marlboroiigli, seven directors were elected, as 
follows: Edward liobinson, of Virginia; J. S Sellnian, of Anne Arundel 
County; Edmund J. Plowden, of St. Marj-'s; John W, Jenkins and 
Walter Mitchell, of Charles County; W. D. Bowie and W. W. Bowie, 
of Prince George's County. The contemplated road was to extend 
from Baltimore to a point on the Potomac River opposite Acquia 
Ch'cek, and to have a brancli running into Washington. But little 
was accomplished on this work for a number of years. About March 
1, 1807, the tirst live miles were graded, extending from the crossing 
of the Annapolis bridge to the Patuxent River. It was then taken 
hold of by Northern capitalists and pushed forward with considerable 
energy, and the road was so far completed that it was o[>ened for 
travel July 2, 1872, the first train leaving Baltimore at 9:15 a. m., and 
reaching Washington at 1:00 p. m. Trains from Alexandria and Fred- 
erickslnirg also began arriving at the Sixth and B Street depot on 
the same day. The road was completed to Pope's Creek January 1, 
1873. The main line, extending from Baltimore to Pope's Creek, is 
73.13 miles long, and the branch running from Bowie Station to 
Washington is 18,93 miles in length. This railroad is a continuation 
of the Penns}'lvania system, and connects with the Southern railroads 
through the iSTational Capital and over the Long Bridge. 

The Washington and Alexandria Railroad Company was incor[)0- 
rated by an act of the Legislature of Virginia, passed February 
27, 1854, the commissioners to receive subscriptions, named in the 
act, being James S. French, John W. Maury, A. J. Marsliall, Cornelius 
Boyle, George Frencli, Edgar Snowden, and R. W, Latham. The 
capital stock of the company was limited to $300,000, in shares of 
$100 each. The purpose of the company was to construct a railroad 
on the plan of J. S. French, "as set forth to the House of Delegates 
in document Xo. 65, session of 1850-51," and whenever two thousand 
shares should be subscribed the company was to be considered incor- 
porated, under the name of the Alexandria and Washington Railroad 
Company. Mr. French claimed for his [)lan greater securitj' for 
passengers, and the ability to use lighter machinery. 

This road was completed so that the first train passed over it 
jSTovember 1, 1856. The first train consisted of four cars drawn by 
the locomotive "John T. Towers." Cars commenced running on 
regular time Xovember 25, 1856. The road was eight miles in 
length. It was sold April 10, 1862, to Alexander Ilay, of Philadelphia, 
for $12,500, subject to a judgment of $250,000. May 3, 1862, the 
company was reorganized under the name of tlie Washington and 


Georgetown Railroiid, with a board of live directors — Alexander 
Hay, Josepli Tliornton, Horace M. Day, Silas Seymour, and Josc})]i 
B. Stewart. Mr. Hay was elected president, Mr. Stewart secretary, 
Mr. Tliornton treasurer, and Mr. Seymour general superintendent. 

The gentlemen thus placed in charge of the interests of the 
company endeavored to secure from Congress a new charter for 
the company, for the erection of a branch across the Potomac River 
and the right of way through certain streets of the city of Wash- 

This was in time accomplished, and the road received the name of 
the Washington City and Point Lookout Railroad Company, under 
the charter granted in 1871. The companj- was rerpiired to build a 
railroad from Washington to Point Lookout, a distance of eight}' 
miles. The work of grading this road ^^'as commenced in 1872, and 
that portion of the road extending from the Baltimore and Ohio 
Railroad at Il3"attsville to the Potomac River, opposite Alexandria, 
completed in 1875. It was leased to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad 
Company for $30,000 per annum, payable in gold, one-tenth part of 
wliich was annually appropriated to extinguishing the issue of bonds 
maturing June 1, 1913. Default of interest was made July 1, 1882, 
and under a decree of foreclosure granted September 1, 1885, the road 
was sold for $75,000 January 13, 188G, and the bondholders formed a 
new railroad company in April, 1880, under the name of the Wash- 
ington and Potomac Railroad Company. 

The Washington and Chesapeake Beach Railway Company was 
chartered in 1882, with an authorized capital of $100,000. It has very 
recently secured power to estal)lish a seaside resort at Chesapeake 
Beach, in Calvert County, Maryland, and will construct a railroad 
twenty-eight miles long, connecting with the Baltimore and Potomac 
Railroad at Upper Marlborough, and with the Baltimore and Ohio 
Railroad near the east line of the District of Columbia. It is expected 
that the road will be completed about August 1, 1892. 

The first bridge across Rock Creek was built in 1792 or 1793, by 
the commissioners of the District of Columbia. It was on K Street, 
and consisted of a single arcli, the arch being composed of stones 
representing the several States of the Union, as they were then. The 
keystone had upon it the shield of Pennsylvania, and it is believed 
that it was from this fact that Pennsylvania has always been known 
as the "Keystone State." The theory of making K Street as wide 
as Pennsylvania Avenue was, that a great deal of wagoning would 
cross the creek and o-o on out toward Bladensburo-. 


In tlie winter of 1807-08, an act was passed by Congress author- 
izing* the construction of a bridge across the Potomac River within 
the District of Columbia. Subscription books were opened at Stelle's 
Hotel, April 1, 1808. Subscriptions were authorized up to tw^o thou- 
sand shares, $10 of each share to be paid at the time of subscribing, and 
the residue to be paid in installments of $10 each when called for by 
the commissioners. The commissioners appointed under this act were 
Robert Brent, Daniel Carroll of Duddington, Thomas Munroe, James 
D. Barry, Frederick Ma}', Samuel 11. Smith, Jonah Thompson, Jon- 
athan Swift, Thomas Vowell, Cuthbert Powell, Elisha Janney, and 
Charles Alexander. These commissioners were authorized to open 
subscription books for raising a capital stock not to exceed $200,000, in 
shares of $100 each, for the purpose of erecting a bridge over the 
Potomac between the city of Washington and Alexander's Island. 
Whenever nineteen hundred shares of stock should be subscribed for, 
in accordance witli the provisions of the act of Congress, they were 
to be considered a corporation under the name and style of the Wash- 
ington Bridge Compan}-; and as soon thereafter as practicable the 
commissioners were required to call a meeting of the stockholders for 
tlie purpose of electing tive directors, a clerk, and a treasurer, and such 
otlier officers as might be deemed necessar}'. A meeting was therefore 
held on Monday, May 2, 1808, at Stelle's Hotel, for the election of 
the above-named officers, the directors being Daniel Carroll, George 
Blagden, Frederick May, William Harper, and Robert Young. Daniel 
Carroll was elected president. On Maj' 4, the company advertised for 
timbers of various kinds with which to build the bridge, and also 
for the iron work, carpenters, and laborers. Thomas Vowell was 
elected treasurer, and Samuel Elliott, Jr., clerk. The bridge was so 
far completed as to be opened for travel May 20, 1809, but as it was 
not quite finished, passage to and tVo was free for a few days. 

Up the Potomac River, about three miles above Georgetown, a 
bridge was built across the river by Mr. Palmer. It was of wood, and 
in about seven years fell' to pieces from the natural processes of decay. 
The second bridge erected at this place was by Mr. Burr, architect 
of the celebrated Trenton bridge, and on the same principles, and was 
also of wood. This bridge lasted about six months, having cost about 
$80,000; but the abutments were not destroj'ed when the bridge itself 
gave out. The third bridge was erected Upon the principles of that 
built a few years before by Judge Findley near Uniontown, Penn- 
sylvania, over Jacob's Creek. It was a suspension bridge, supported 
solely bj- iron chains thrown over piers erected upon the abutments 


about twenty feet liigli. These cliuius were four in number, and the 
pendents were hung upon the chains alternately about five feet apart, 
so that each cliain received a pendent in every ten feet. This manner 
of construction was, liowever, in violation of the instructions of the 
inventor, Judge Findley, who said that one chain on each side would 
have been sufficient, and one-half the pendents, so tliat the bridge as 
constructed had more than twice the strength that it would ever 
need, and of course cost a great deal more than was necessary. 
The four chains, hanging as they did, were able, according to Judge 
Findley, to sustain from 225 to 280 tons, and from the manner in 
which the pendents were strung on the chains it was next to impos- 
sible that any one of the pendents would ever have to bear one- 
fortieth of what it was able to bear. The span of this bridge was 
128|- feet, the width 16 feet, and the weight 22 tons. The cost was 
less than $4,000. The wood part of this bridge could easily be 
repaired, and it was conlidently expected that the iron portion would 
last a century. Judge Findley's plan of bridge building was con- 
sidered tlie most valuable then discovered, combining great strength 
and durability, and also extreme clieapness. 

On February 13, 1840, this chain bridge was entirely carried away 
by a freshet, and its timbers floated down the river. 

The Washington Bridge, mentioned above, was opened for traffic 
May 31, 1809. It had cost $100,000. It had a broad carriage way in 
the center and a footway on each side, set otf by a double rail for the 
protection of pedestrians. It was a wooden structure, and nearly a 
mile long. Tlie toll was twenty-five cents for a man and horse, and 
$1 for a four-wheeled horse-carriage and a pair of horses. But this 
toll never paid a reasonable profit to the company. Notwithstanding 
that this toll was enormous, it superseded the use of any adjacent 
ferr}' for twenty years, and furnished continuous communication 
between the two sides of the Potomac. Neither was there any 
serious accident to it until February 22, 1831, when a freshet swept 
,away a considerable portion of it. For some time afterward its use 
was suspended. 

The company asked Congress for assistance to rebuild the bridge, 
but during the discussion of the question a bill was introduced, and 
finally became a law, appropriating $20,000 to purchase the rights of 
the bridge company, and $60,000 to reconstruct the bridge, the plan 
to be approved by the President. The plan approved by the President 
was a most elaborate one, reported by George 0. Gratiot and Colonel 
James Kearne3\ These engineers reported the plan of an iron bridge. 


wli'R'h would cost probably about |1, 293, 250, while a wooden bridge 
would not cost more than about $700,110. President Jackson, in "a 
message to Congress, stated that he had adopted the wooden bridge in 
preference to the iron one. Congress soon afterward appropriated 
$200,000 toward the construction of any bridge that the President 
might approve, and on April 11, 1833, proposals were published by 
order of the President, through the Secretary of the Treasur}^ for 
the construction of a bridge with stone itbutments and with piers and 
arches of stone, and by May 1 it was currently reported in the Dis- 
trict of Columbia that a contract had been entered into for the con- 
struction of a bridge, and that the bridge so contracted for would 
cost nearly $2,500,000. But a misunderstanding arising between the 
contractors and the Secretarj' of the Treasury, no contract was in 
reality completed, and consequently the commencement of the work 
was delayed. Soon afterward O. H. Dibble, who had been for some 
years a contractor on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, offered to 
construct the proposed bridge, substituting solid masonry for stone 
piers and abutments resting on piers, and to (h) all the work for 
$1,350,000. The proposition of Mr. Dibble was accepted December 0, 
1833. Congress was then in session, but the question was not submitted 
to that body as to whether it approved the substitution of a bridge 
costing $1,350,000 for one for which it had appropriated $200,000. 

Charles Fenton Mercer was a member of Congress, at that time, 
from Virginia. On the 20th of December, Mr. Mercer offered a res- 
olution in the House of Representatives couched in the following 
language: "That the President of the United States be requested to 
lay l_)cfore this House a copy of any contract which may have been 
made for the construction of a bridge across the Potomac River at 
Washington, together with the authority under which the contract 
may have been made; the names of the contractors and their securi- 
ties, if any; and the plan and estimate of the cost of such bridge.'" 

An answer Avas received to this resolution, January 7, 1834, and 
referred to the Committee on Roads and Canals. This committee 
promptly decided that it was incompetent to proceed with the con- 
struction of the stone bridge across the Potomac, which would 
cost, according to the estimates of the best engineers, anywhere from 
$2,000,000 to $5,000,000; and the chairman of the committee, Mr. 
Mercer, on the 10th of Feljruary, reported a bill to repeal all acts 
theretofore passed on the subject of the Washington Bridge, except 
so much of the first act — that of July 14, 1832, — as authorized the 
contract with the Washington Bridge Company and the reconstruc- 


tion of the bridge at a cost not exceeding $130,000, on the site and 
phin of the old bridge, provided that upon the shoals between the 
main channels a solid embankment mio;ht be made, not exceedinjr 
one tlionsand, six hundred and sixty feet in length, which was one- 
third of the space between the abutments of the old bridge. 

According to surveys made in the winter of 1832-33, the width 
of the river at the point where the bridge was constructed was 4,984 
feet, as follows: Middle channel, 575 feet; flats, 943 feet; swash chan- 
nel, 437 feet; flats, 1,716 feet; Virginia channel, 942 feet; to the shore, 
371 feet. Of all this breadth there was not more than 450 feet of firm 
bottom, and in some places this Arm bottom could not be reached at 
a less depth than 20 feet. It was thought that 42 feet in height would 
be sufficient to permit the passage of steamboats, without taking into 
account the height of chimneys, as they could be lowered. According 
to Lieuteimnt-Colonel Kearney, the bridge would be somewhat as fol- 
lows, if built in conformity to the act of Congress: 

rroceeding from the Maryland abutment, for 3 arches and 3 
piers, 292 feet; for the Washington draw and pier, 88 feet; for 33 
arclies and piers, to the opening of the Georgetown pier, 3,734 feet; 
for the Georgetown draw and pier, 88 feet; for 4 arches and 6 
piers, 452 feet; for 3 arches and 2 piers descending, 270 feet; total, 
4,924 feet. 

The plan decided on by the President for a bridge across the 
Potonuic is interesting, as showing what he would have done had lie 
not been prevented b}' the economical s[)irit of Congress, lie had 
decided upon it previous to April 11, 1833, as he was required to do 
by Congress. That plan was as follows: The bridge was to have 
had 41 arches and 2 draws; 42 piers and 2 abutments with their 
half-i)iers. The arches were to have been of 00 feet span, and 25 feet 
I'ise above the springing line, and were to be curves of sevei'al centers, 
all semi-elliptical. The })iers and abutments were to have risen 7 
feet above low water. The draws were to have been 60 feet wide, one 
to be placed at the Maryland channel, the other at the Virginia 
channel. The bi'idge was to have been 30 feet wide between the 
parapets, and the piers, arches, and abutments were to have been of 
granite. A full and particular description of this proposed bridge 
of. President Jackson, which the engineers estimated to cost from 
$2,000,000 to $5,000,000, was published by Hon. Louis McLane, Secre- 
tary of the Treasury, commencing with April 12, 1833. 

The bridge that was built in the place of this pro[)Osed one was 
opened for traffic October 29, 1835. George W. Hughes was the 


engineer of construction. According to his report tlie bridge cost 
1113,126, nearly $17,000 less than the sum appropriated for it by 
Congress. The engineer said that he considered the bridge very 
uncertain as to its existence. Under favorable circumstances it might 
last thirty years, and it might be destroyed within a year. But no 
one was to blame for the building of such a bridge but Congress, 
which should not have permitted the erection of anything but a 
substantial bridge. 

The doleful predictions of the engineer as to the existence of this 
bridge began to be realized in Maj^ 1836, in which month a fresliet 
did considerable damage to it. On June 7, Congress " passed a joint 
resolution authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury "to have all 
repairs made to the bridge across the Potomac River which have 
become necessary from the late flood; and that the expense of said 
repairs be paid out of the money heretofore appropriated for the 
erection of said bridge, and which is now in the treasur}' unexpended." 
December 7, 1836, Hon. Levi Woodbury, Secretary of the Treasury, 
submitted a statement to Congress showing that in the aggregate there 
had been expended on the repairs to the bridge, to the causeway, to 
the draws, to the abutments, etc., $11,992.65, and that there was still 
left of the original appropriation $4,194.18, which was ai)plicable to 
the grading, graveling, and planting of Maryland Avenue. 

On March 3, 1839, the jurisdiction of the corporation of Wash- 
ington was extended over this bridge. In February, 1840, a freshet 
occurred, which carried away the chain bridge above the Little Falls 
and did great damage to the Long Bridge. This disaster caused 
inquiry into the propriety of the location of Long Bridge, and some 
were of the opinion that a better one could be found where the 
Alexandria Canal Company's aqueduct crossed the river. These peo- 
ple reasoned that the Alexandria and Falmouth Railroad Company' 
would soon be seeking a passage across the Potomac, and it was 
thought that the railroad should cross the river in connection with 
the aqueduct. Others thought there was no insuperable obstacle to 
making Long Bridge a permanent structure, nothing being required 
to this end Init stone piers at each of the draws, and ice-blockers 
above, strong enough to resist and check the mass of floating ice. 
What was necessary was to cause the ice to float, for then it would 
not dam up the stream and cause an immense pressure of water 
against the bridge. The difficulty in the waj' of getting a good bridge 
built was that committees of Congress were not in the habit of 
consultintJ- with men who understood the work that was to be done. 


"Ignorance, even when opportunity has existed to remove it, assumes 
a humble degree of respectability when it candidly shows itself; when 
it seeks to disguise itself in the liabit of knowledge it becomes 
ridiculous; but, unfortunately, the consequences of the deceit arc 
sometimes too mischievous to be contemptible." 

In the winter of 1856-57, an attempt was made on the [)art of 
certain persons to secure the discontinuance of the Long Bridge. Of 
course this movement was opposed by others. A meeting of the 
citizens of Alexandria was lield February 20, 1857, for the purpose of 
expressing hostility to the proposed removal of the bridge. They 
considered that the aqueduct as a point of transit from one side of 
the river to the other would make their northern connection by 
ordinary means exceedingly inconvenient, and earnestly urged their 
Representatives and Senators in Congress to use their best efforts to 
avert the calamity. There was also a movement started in Alexandria 
to prevent the piers of the aqueduct over the Potomac from being used 
for the support of a railroad bridge. A committee of citizens waited 
on the committee of the House of Representatives, February 25, 1857, 
addressing them on the immediate reconstruction of the bridge, making 
the offer of the Washington and Alexandria Railroad Company to 
repair the bridge and keep it in repair if Congress would permit the 
construction of a railroad track over it. Georgetown was not asleep 
on this subject. Mayor Addison called a meeting of the citizens to 
formulate an expression of their sentiments, the meeting to be held 
on the 26th of the month. Citizens of Washington also assembled in 
nuiss meeting in the evening of the 26th, in the City Hall, for the 
same purpose. At this lueeting the Mayor presided, and J. Carroll 
Brent acted as secretary. A series of resolutions was presented and 
adopted, expressing hearty sympathy with the people of Alexaiuh-ia in 
their desire for the continuance of the Long Bridge, the site upon 
which it stood being best adapted for communication between the 
north and south sides of the river. A committee was appointed con- 
sisting of twenty persons, afterward enlarged to twenty-six, to hi}' the 
whole subject before Congress; this committee consisting in part of 
the Mayor, W. B Magruder, and Ex-Mayors W. W. Seaton, Peter 
Force, Walter Lenox, and John T. Towers. 

Without pursuing this subject into detail, it is suthcicnt to say that 
the movement of the citizens in the way above described, prevented 
the entire destruction of Long Bridge by Congressional authority, 
and in due time measures w'ere taken to again repair the bridge, the 
Councils of the city of Washington appropriating ^5,000 toward that 


ol)ject. This was on May 25, 1857. By Xovcniber ], 1858, the l)ri(lge 
was again repaired so as to be put in use. 

In February, 1867, the Long Bridge was carried away by iioating 
ice, rendering comnuinication between the two sides of tlie river 
impossible, except by way of the cliain bridge, involving an ordinary 
day's journey. In the emergency thus created, the lessees of tiie 
canal offered the Government the use of the [)iers of the aqueduct 
for the erection of a [)ermaneut bridge over the Potomac. This offer, 
however, was not accepted, and Long Bridge has been kept up until 
the present day. 

The first movement looking toward tlie construction of a street 
railroad in Washington was made in 1854, a memorial of the citizens 
of Washington aiul Georgetown being [)resented to Congress about 
February 1, that year, praying that authority might be granted to 
George W. Yerby and others to construct a horse-power railroad 
through Pennsjdvania Avenue and other public thoroughfares of the 
city of Wasbington. This memorial was signed by a great number 
of citizens. This project aroused considerable opposition, those 0[)posed 
saying that sucb a railroad was uncalled for b}- either public or 
[)rivate necessity; that it would l)e hurtful to the true interests of the 
city, most injni'ious to the convenience aiul beauty of the princi})al 
thoroughfares of the cit}'; that it would make the avenue totally 
unsuitable for the purposes for which it was originally designed. 

But little, if anything, appears to have been accomplished in the 
direction of the construction of this road until May 25, 1858, on 
which day the House of Representatives })assed a bill, authoi'izing 
Gilbert A-^anderwerkeu, Bayard Clarke, Asa P. Robinson, and their 
assigns, to construct and lay down a double-track railroad on Penn- 
sylvania Avenue and Fifteenth Street, from the west gate of the 
Capitol grounds to the city line of Georgetown, the cars to be drawn 
b}' horse ]»ower, and the rate of fare not to exceed five cents. The 
cliarter of the road was for twcntj-five years. 

That the cor[)oration was not opposed to this enterprise is shown 
by the action taken by the Councils, December 30, 1858, on which 
day they adopted the following resolutions: 

"That the joint committee of the Councils to attend to the 
interests of the corporation l^efore Congress be, and they are hereby, 
instructed to request and urge upon Congress to pass such law or 
laws as will give to this corporation full power and authority to 
authorize the construction of railroads in the streets of the city of 
Washington, and to conti'ol, regulate, and tax the same. 


"Tliiit the Mayor bo, and he is licreby, requested to liave a coi)y 
of these resolutions transmitted to the President of the Senate and 
the Speaker of tlie House of Representatives, and to every member 
of the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States." 

A meeting was held November 10, 1859, to further the effort to 
construct a railroad from the Navy Yard in Washington to some 
point in Georgetown. Mr. George Mattingly submitted a report, 
accompanied by articles of agreement, and a bill to be submitted to 
Congress at its next session for enactment. The principal feature of 
the articles of compact was tliat not more than ten shares of stock 
should be taken by any one person, until after the public had had 
three days' opportunity to subscribe. The act also provided that 
there should be a president and nine directors to superintend the 
construction of the road, which should not be of less than four feet 
gauge, which must be commenced within six months from the passage 
of the act, and be completed within two years. 

A third meeting of the citizens was held Tuesday, November 
15, at which time a petition for a charter received forty-eight signatures, 
and $3-3,000 of stock was subscribed. A committee of five was 
appointed to solicit additional signatures, and a second committee of 
five to appoint a committee of thirty to secure the charter from 
Congress. At another meeting, held on the 25th, a little over $100,000 
was subscribed, and by the 26tli the subscription had reached 1100,000. 
By December 1, tlie entire $200,000 was secured, taken by four 
hundred and fourteen subscribers. 

In 1862, it began to be hoped that the city would enjoy the 
privileges of a street railroad. The war was concentrating in and 
around Washington a [)Opulation of nearly 200,000, including tlie 
encampments. Officers and men complained of the inconveniences 
of moving about from one part of tlie city to another. There were 
but few hacks, and they could not be obtained except at a rate of $2 
per hour, or for a visit to the camps, even within the city limits, 
without making a $10 job of it. An act incorporating this com})any 
was approved May 17, 18(32, and books for the subscription of stock 
were opened May 23. The name of the company thus incorporated 
was the Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company. By this 
charter the capital stock was required to be not less than $300,000 lior 
more than $500,000, and the Bank of Washington was selected as the 
depository of its funds. E. Kingman was chosen president, and J. J 
Coombs secretary. Of the 6,000 shares of stock issued, 1,327 were 
taken in Washington, 42 in Georgetown, and the rest mainly in New 


York and Philadelphia. But in the a}»portionment of directors, four 
were given to the District of Colund^ia, two to Philadelphia, and one 
to New York. Work on the road was immediately commenced, and 
by August 13 it was completed to Georgetown, with the exception of 
a small piece across the aqueduct bridge over Rock Creek, and there 
were fifteen cars running as far as the Circle, in connection with 
omnibuses to Georgetown, at tive cents from one end of the line to 
the other. October 2, 1862, tlje cars commenced running to the Navy 
Yard, and then the whole line was in operation from the Navj- Yard 
to Georgetown. The line down Seventh Street to the river was com- 
pleted Xovember 14, 1862. 

In July, 1865, tlie statistics of this road were as follows: Xumber 
of cars per day, 60; number of trips, 941; average number of trips 
for each car, 16; whole number of trips during the year, 343,465; 
number of passengers carried during the year, 8,651,223; gross earn- 
ings of the road during the year, $450,000. 

The oflicers of the Washington and Georgetown Railroad Com- 
pany since its organization have been as follows: J'residents — II. D. 
Cooke, 1862-63; George S. Gideon, 1863-67; William Duning, a few 
months in 1867 and 1868; S. S. Riker, 1868-74; Samuel L. Phillips, six 
months in 1874; Henry Hurt, 1874 to the present time. Secretaries 
and Treasurers — II. C. Fahnestock for the first few months; William 
C. Greenleaf, 1862-67; A. W. Nichols, 1867-70; Henry Hurt, 1870-74; 
C. M. Koones, 1874 to the present time. 

The ^Seventh Street road was changed to a cable road May 1, 
1890. Tlie plant by which the cable is propelled is situated on Square 
No. 504, between Water and Four and a Half streets, and fronting on 
the Arsenal. In this })Ower liouse are two engines, each of two hundred 
and Hfty horse-power, but capable of developing live hundred horse- 
power each. The legislation under which this cable road was built 
was permissive only, but in 1890 Congress passed a supplemental act 
requiring the entire system of the Washington and Georgetown Rail- 
road to be 0}terated by cable or electricity, and the cliange to be 
completed in two years from the passage of the act. Under this 
k>gislation, which was really unnecessary, as the com[iany intended to 
change from horse })Ower to the cable system, the change to the cable 
system is n()\\- in progress, and will be completed within the time 
required by law, which expires August 6, 1892. The })Ower house 
in which the machinery will be located is being erected on Square 
No. 255, between Thirteen and a Half and Fourteenth streets, and D 
and E streets Northwest. The estimated cost of the machinery to be 


erected in this building is $150,000. There will be two seven hundred 
and lifty horse-power engines, and eight one liundred and eighty-four 
horse-power boilers. Tlie total length of the cable road belonging to 
this company will, when completed, be eleven miles of double track, 
and the entire cost of the change is estimated at $3,500,000. 

The Metropolitan Railroad Company was organized under an 
act of Congress approved July 1, 1864, with the following-named 
incorporators: A. R. Shepherd, Richard Wallach, Lewis Clephane, 
S. P. Brown, Nathaniel Wilson, Franklin Tenney, M. G. Emery, 
Samuel Fowler, John Little, J. C. McKelden, S. J. Bowen, J. IL 
Semmes, D. C. Forney, W. W. Rapley, W. G. Moore, Thomas Lewis, 
J. B. Keasby, and Charles H. Xichols. This company has about ten 
miles of double track. Its east and west line runs from Thirty-iifth 
and O streets to Twenty-fifth Street, to P Street, to Connecticut 
Avenue, to Seventeenth and II streets, to Fourteenth Street, to F 
Street, to Fifth Street, to Louisiana Avenue, to East Capitol Street, to 
Lincoln Park. 

Its north and south line begins on Brightwood Avenue, above 
Florida Avenue, and runs south on Ninth Street to the Mai'ket 
House, to Missouri Avenue, to Four and a Half Street, to Street, 
to the steamboat wharves; also, a line on Brightwood Avenue, past 
the Soldiers' Home to Brightwood. 

The first president was S. P. Brown, M. G. Emery being treas- 
urer, both of whom served until March, 1865. From March, 1865, to 
July, 1884, J. W. Thom[)son was president. George W. Pearson has 
been president since July, 1884. William W. Moore was secretary and 
treasurer from January, 1865, to January, 1887, and since then 
William J. Wilson has been secretary and treasurer. 

The present board of directors is composed of George W. I^ear- 
son, A. A. Wilson, A. A. Thomas, Dr. Daniel B. Clarke, Robert 
Bell, John Cammack, and Robert Weaver. The company is about to 
change its motive power from horses to electricit\', and expects 
to complete the change during the summer of 1892. 

The Columbia Street Railroad Compan}' was organized under a 
charter granted May 24, 1871, with the following board of directors 
and ofiicers: J. G. McKelden, president; William II. Clagett, secretary; 
George H. B. White, cashier of the National Metropolitan Bank, 
treasurer, and Alexander R. Shepherd, Hon. A. M. Clapp, N. B. 
Fugitt, Colonel S. S. Smoot, and M. M. Rohrer. The route of this 
company commences at Fifteenth Street and New York Avenue; 
thence along this avenue to K Street; then past the old Northern 


Liberties Market on the south side; then down Massachusetts Avenue 
to II Street, and tlieii on II Street to the tollgate, a distance of nearly 
tliree miles. Originally a single track was laid, with turn-outs, but 
in October, 1871, it was decided to construct a double track, which 
was completed in March, 1872. The cost of the road, as a double- 
track road, togetlier with nine cars, fort}' horses, land, and stables, was 
^0r>,071.19. The present equipment of the road consists of one hun- 
dred and forty-four horses, sixteen two-horse summer cars, and sixteen 
two-horse winter cars. It is designed to change to an exclusively 
mechanical e(|uipmeiit as soon as practicable. 

The officers of the company have been as follows: I'residents — 
J. C. McKelden, 1871 to 1874; II. A. Willard, 1874 to 1880; W. II. 
Clagett, May, 1880, to March, 1800; W. J. Stephenson, March, 1800, to 
the present time. Vice-Presidents — So far as the records show, Henry 
Dickson, to 1885; E. G. Davis, 1885 to the present time. Secretaries 
and Treasurers— William U. Clagett, 1871 to May 30, 1880; R. F. 
Baker, 1880 to the present time. 

The Anacostia and Potomac Railroad Company was incorporated 
March 0, 1872, the original incorporators being L. W. Guinand, John 
Ilitz, Thomas R. Riley, Alfred liichards, Thomas A. Richards, Zadok 
Williams, John Grinder, John A. Ruff, Geoi'ge B. Smith, and Madison 
Davis. Nothing was done until 1875, when a new charter was granted, 
under which a re(^)rganization was effected, the l)oard of directors 
l)eing Dr. Xoble Young, Edward Temple, R. B. Clarke, L. W. 
Guinand, II. A. Griswold, John Webster, Alfred Richards, Zadok 
Williams, and George A. Rohrer. The first officers wei"e L. W. 
Guinand, })resident; Madison Davis, secretary; Thomas A. Richards, 
ti'easurer. By this second charter Congress prescribed the route of 
tliis road, as follows: From the Treasur}' by way of Fourteenth 
Street to Water Street; then along M Street to Eleventh Street; then 
across the Navy Yard bridge and along the Good Hope road to tlie 
District line, an entire distance of about seven miles. In 1876, 
the charter was so amended as to require the road to be Ijuilt by way 
of Ohio Avenue to the Center Market. In 1888, the right was given 
to l)uild the road from Eleventh and M streets Southeast, along Elev- 
enth, G, E, Canal, and Third streets, Missouri Avenue, and B Street, to 
the Center Market; and also along G, Seventeenth, and E streets to 
the Congressional Cemetery. This [)ortion of the road was constructed 
in 1880 and 1800, and was completed in January, 1801. Additional 
franchises were granted, allowing the construction of the road, by 
way of Second ami M streets, to connect with the main or G Street 


line at Canal Street, which road was constructed in 1.S01, making 
the entire length of the line operated by this company thirteen and 
one-half miles. Should the bill now before Congress become a law, 
providing for the building of the road from Center Market by Ninth 
Street to G, then to Eleventh and E streets, and back by Ninth Street, 
tlie entire length of tlie line will be about sixteen miles. 

All the old tracks of this road have been relaid with standard 
girder construction, with a view to the adoption of an improved 
electric or other motor power. The equipment of the road at the 
present time consists of one hundi'ed and tifty horses, sixteen summer 
cars, and twenty-eight winter cars, all two-horse. 

The officers of the company have been as follows: L. W. Gui- 
nand, president; H. A. Griswold, secretary and superintendent, and 
Thomas A. Richards, treasurer; Mr. Guinand serving until his death 
in October, 1880; then H. A. Griswold, president and superintendent, 
until the present time; Thomas E. Smithson, secretary, until July, 
1886, then J. Beacham Pitcher, until the present time. Mr. Pitcher 
subsequently succeeded Mr, Richards as treasurer, and is now serving 
in that capacity also. 

The Capitol, North O Street, and South Washington Street Rail- 
road Company was incor^iorated by a special act of Congress, approved 
March 3, 1875, the following gentlemen being named as the incor[)ora- 
tors: Joseph Williams, William J. Murtagh, Ilallet Kilbourn, Benjamin 
F. Fuller, William J. Cowing, Samuel R. Bond, AVilliam Saunders, 
George W. Goodall, George A. Mcllhenny, L. A. Bartlett, and L. II. 
Chandler. The route along which this company was authorized to la}' 
down their road, which might be either a single or double track, was 
as follows: Commencing on First Street West, in front of the Capitol 
grounds, and running thence due north along First Street to G Street 
North; thence west to Fourth Street; thence on Fourth Street to O 
Street; tiience to Eleventh Street; thence to E Street; thence to Four- 
teenth Street; thence to Ohio Avenue; thence to the intersection with 
Twelfth Street; thence to Virginia Avenue; tlience to Maryland Ave- 
nue; and thence to First Street, the place of beginning. 

Tliis act was amended, May 23, 1876, so as to authorize the exten- 
sion of the line on Fourth and Eleventh streets West, from Street to 
P Street, and to lay a single track and run its ears one way uj)0n P 
Street, between Fourth and Eleventh streets. The charter was again 
amended, March 3, 1881, so as to authorize the company to remove 
its track from Ohio Avenue and Twelfth Street Southwest, and to lay 
a sino-le or double track from the intersection of Ohio Avenue and 


Fonrleciith Street to C Street Southwest, eastwardly along C Street 
to Virginia Avenue, to connect with its line at the junction of this 
avenue and street; and also to lay a single or double track from its 
line on P Street and Eleventh Street Northwest, north on Eleventli 
Street to Boundary Street; and to lay a single or double track from the 
intersection of C and Eleventh streets Southwest, along Eleventh Street 
to Water Street, and then to M Street South, this to be the southern 
terminus of the road. The charter was again amended, March 1, 1883, 
authorizing the company to extend its line, by hwing a single or 
double track, commencing at the intersection of Eleventh and E streets 
Xoi'thwest, along E to Nintlj Street, along jSTinth to" Louisiana Ave- 
nue, then to Ohio Avenue, and then to the junction of Ohio Avenue 
and Twelfth Street Northwest. Then, in May, 1888, an amendment 
was made to the charter so as to authorize the construction of the 
road beginning at Fourteentli and B streets Southwest and extending 
along B Street to Twelfth Street Southwest, to connect with the com- 
pany's line on the latter street. The entire length of line of travel 
is now about eight and one-half miles; and its present equipment 
consists of two hundred and thirty horses and lifty-two cars. The 
rails are for the most part eighty-pound grooved rails, and the tics 
are of white oak, hewed, and }»laced three feet, six inches apart. The 
board of directors are very active in securing for tlie road the best 
equipment that is practical, and within the law of Congress on the 
subject of street railways in the District. They have purchased Square 
No. 330, at the head of Eleventh Street Northwest, where they intend 
to erect a power house adapted to the necessities of that form of 
mechanical equipment which shall ultimately be adopted, and when 
this })Ower house shall be erected they will abandon their present 
}tlants at Third and B streets Southwest, and at Twelfth and V streets 
Northwest. The capital of this company, at first |200,000, has been 
increased to 1500,000. 

The first meeting of the incorporators of this company was held 
December 30, 1874, and tiie company was organized March 8, 1875, l)y 
the election of Jose[»h Williams president, W. J. Cowing secretary, 
B. F. Fuller treasurer, and S. K. Bond attorney. The office of 
attorney was abolished Fel)ruary 23, 1875. May 3, George A. Mcll- 
hcnny was elected president, and u})on his resignation William Saun- 
ders was elected, October 14, 1875. S. R. Bond was elected December, 
1875; Edward Temple served from 1876 to 1879; Charles White, May 
12, 1879, to 1889; W. J. Cowing, November 29, 1889, to 1890; George 
White, May 12, 1890, to the present time. A'ice-Presidents — A. M. 


Clapp, Deconiber 20, 1889; W. J. Cowing, May, 1890; Cliarles Flint, 
1891 to tlie present time. Secretaries and Treasurers — W. J, Cowing, 
until May 8, 1876; li. S. Cowing, 1870 to 1878; R. S. Chew, November 
23, 1878, to 1881; W. E. Boughton, May 23, 1882, to 1889; II. A. 
Haralson, December 30, 1889, to 1890; II. K. Gray, March 3, 1890, to 
the present time. Superintendents — John La Rue, until May, 1877; 
Mr. Armstrong, for a short time; John W, Belt, May 22, 1878, to 
September 1, 1878; S. S. Daish, September 1, 1878, to July 1, 1881; 

E. L. Barnes, July 1, 1881, to May 20, 1884; Andrew Glass, May 
20, 1884, to the present time. 

The Rock Creek Railroad Company was organized under a 
charter granted b}' Congress, June 22, 1888, the incorporators being- 
Gardner G. Hubbard, George Truesdcll, Samuel W. Woodward, Otis 

F. Presbrey, John F. Waggaman, B. K. Plain, Jolin Ridout, A. F. 
Stevens, Leroy Tuttle, Lawrence Sands, Edward C. Dean, James 
B. Wimer, Samuel S. Shedd, Leroy Tuttle, Jr., Robert J. Fisher, Jr., 
and Pitman Mann. Active work did not commence, however, until 
the amended charter was secured, May 28, 1890, by which the route 
of the road was changed so as to extend to the line of the District of 
Columbia on the line of Connecticut Avenue extended. The road 
now begins at the junction of Connecticut and Florida avenues and 
runs on Florida Avenue to Eighteenth Street, on Eighteenth Street to 
the Columbia road, thence to Rock Creek, and then on the line of 
Connecticut Avenue extended to the District of Columbia line. From 
this point the road has been graded and built into Maryland. The 
company has done a great deal of grading on Connecticut Avenue 
extended, and has built two very expensive bridges on its line. The 
entire main line was completed and put in operation about May 15, 
1892. It is a double-track road, equipped with the Thomson-Houston 
system of overhead electric wires. It began operation with eighteen 
cars. The length of the road, including its branch road from Eight- 
eenth Street and Florida Avenue along U Street and Florida Avenue 
to North Capitol Street, is about eight miles. The power house is 
located at the end of the line in Maryland, and is equipped with two 
engines, each of a nominal horse-power of two hundred and tifty, and 
four dynamos, of eighty kilowatts each. The officers of the companj- 
at the present time are Francis G. Newlands, president; Edward 
J. Stellwagen, vice-president; Thomas M. Gale, treasurer; Howard 
S. Nyman, secretary; and other directors, Henry E. Davis, John 
J. Malone, and Albert W. Sioussa. General A. J. Warner is superin- 
tendent of construction, and W. Kesley Schoepf, engineer. 


The Eckino-ton and Soldiers' Home Railway Company was char- 
tered June 19, 1888, the incorporators being Edward F. Beale, Edward 
C. Dean, A. L. Barber, George Trnesdell, James L. Barbour, George 
E. Moore, 0. C. Duncanson, Michael Connor, and Joseph Paul. The 
company was organized August 2, 1888, with the following officers: 
George Truesdell, })resident; C. (J. Duncanson, vice-})resident; Joseph 
Paul, secretar}', and E. Kurtz Johnson, treasurer. These officers still 
retain their respective positions. G. S. Patterson has been su[)erin- 
tendent since 1890. 

By its charter, this company was authorized to build a road from 
the intersection of Seventh Street and Xew York Avenue, along New 
'^'ork Avenue to Boundary, along the boundary to Eckington Place; 
then north along Eckington Place, to K Street, along 11 Street to 
Third, along Third to T Street, and along T Street to the car house. 
This road was built and the cars commenced running thereon October 
17, 1888, the cars being propelled by means of the Thomson-Houston 
electric system, and was thus one of the lirst electric street railroads 
in use in the United States. The company', b}' its charter, was also 
authorized to extend its line along New York Avenue to Ivy City. 
In the s[)ring of 1889, it began operating cars on Fourtli Street, and 
added four vestibule motor cars and seven double-decked tow cars. In 
the fall of the same year, it added three vestibule motor cars and 
three double-decked tow cars. In the summer of 1889, the road was 
extended along Lincoln Avenue and B Street nearly to Glenwood 
Cemetery. The charter was amended April 30, 1890, authorizing the 
extension of the track from New York Avenue to Fifth Street, then 
to G Street, and along G Street to Fifteenth; and also, beginning at 
the terminus of the cemetery branch, along Lincoln Avenue to a 
point opposite the entrance to Glenwood Cemetery; also, beginning 
at the intersection of New York Avenue and North Capitol Street, 
along the latter to the south boundary of the Soldiers' Home. The 
road was built along G and Fifth streets in the spring of 1891. Two 
storage-battery cars were run temporarily, as an experiment, from the 
spring of 1891 to August 16, 1891, on which day the insulation of 
six new cars was completed, and these commenced running November 
1, 1891, and are still running. 

In the early part of 1891, the company commenced constructing 
the North Capitol Street tracks, and completed the road as far as T 
Street. Cars are not yet running on this road. The cemetery exten- 
sion was completed May 29, 1891, and cars commenced running 
thereon May 30, Decoration Day. 


The power house is located on Fifth Street, above T Street, 
Northeast, at Eckington. The power house contains four Thomson- 
Houston eighty horse-power generators and four one liundred horse- 
power engines, three one hundred and ten horse-power boilers and two 
forty horse-power Electric-Dynamic Company's generators, and one one 
hundred horse-power engine, the latter being used in charging the 
batteries of the storage cars, the other engines being used in propell- 
ing the trolley cars. In 1889, the number of passengers carried was 
538,870; in 1890, 750,833; and in 1891, 1,076,744. 

At the last annual election, held on the second Wednesday in 
January, 1892, the following gentlemen were elected directors: C. C. 
Duncanson, E. Kurtz Johnson, Joseph Paul, M. M. Parker, J. H. 
Lane, L. M. Saunders, Thomas Somerville, George Truesdell, and 
B. H. Warner. 

The Georgetown and Ten nally town Kailroad was organized in 
1888, and their railroad, which is an electric one, equipped with the 
Thomson-Houston system, extends from Water and Thirty-second 
streets, Georgetown, out on Thirty-second Street to the District line, 
a distance of four and a half miles. The power house of this line is 
situated about one mile from Water Street, and is equipped with one 
two hundred and Hfty horse-power Corliss engine, and one one liundred 
and twenty-five horse- power Corliss engine, propelling four dynamos, 
each of eighty horse-power. The first oificers of this company were 
General R. C. Drum, president; R. H. Goldsborough, vice-president; 
John E. Beall, secretary; and George H. B. White, treasurer. General 
Drum resigned the presidency in a few months, and was succeeded 
by Mr, Goldsborough, and W. A. Gordon was chosen vice-president. 
At the last annual election, held January 13, 1892, Spencer Watkins 
was elected president, R. D. Weaver vice-president, John E. Beall 
secretary, and George D. Ashton treasurer. 

At the District line this road connects with two other electric 
roads, the one owned by the Glen Echo Railroad Company, and 
extending to Glen Echo, a distance of about three miles, the other 
owned by the Ten nally town and Rockville Railroad Company, and 
extending now to Bethesda Park, a distance of about three and a 
half miles. It is expected that this line will ultinuitely be extended 
to Rockville, Maryland. 

The Norfolk and Washington, District of Columbia, Steamboat 
Company was chartered by the Legislature of Virginia in February, 
1890, with a capital of $100,000, which was increased in 1891 to 
$300,000. The company was organized the following month with 


William E. Clark, president; Levi Woodbury, vice-president; C. C. 
Duncanson, treasurer; John Keyworth, secretary, and John Callahan, 
superintendent. Subsequently, Mr. Duncanson resigned and Mr. R. F. 
Baker was elected treasurer in his stead. Contracts were made in 
May, 1890, with the Harlan & HoUingsworth Company, of Wilming- 
ton, Delaware, for the construction of two steamers, the Washington 
and the Norfolk, which were completed and commenced running, the 
former on March 28, 1891, and the Norfolk on April 3, 1891. These 
two steamboats are each of iron, and two hundred and sixty feet in 
length, and eacli cost $235,000. Some time afterward, the company 
purchased of the Potomac Company their wharf and steamer, George 
Leary, which boat they have had entire'y repaired and relitted, at an 
expense of about $20,000. The two new steamers are tirst-class in 
every respect, and are capable of running from nineteen to twenty 
miles per hour. Their time between Washington and Norfolk is 
usually twelve and a half hours, a distance of two hundred miles. 

The Mount Vernon and Marshall Hall Steamboat Company has 
been in existence for several years. Its boats, the principal ones of 
which are the Charles Macalester and the River Queen, the latter an 
elegant new steamer, ply between Washington and Alexandria, Mount 
Vernon, Marshall Hall, and other points on tlie Potomac River, run- 
ning to Mount A'ernon in connection with the Ladies' Mount Vernon 
Association, and charging .$1 for the round trip to the latter, wliich 
includes admission to the grounds. The officers of this company are 
Joseph C. McKibben, president; L. L. Blake, vice-president; Thomas 
Adams, secretary and treasurer; Samuel C. Ramage, general manager. 

The Washington Steamboat Company, Limited, is the successor 
to the Potomac Ferry Com})any, which originated in 1864; the Wash- 
ington Steamboat Company being organized in 1881. It has five 
steamboats plying on the Potonuic between Washington and points 
below. These boats are named the Wakefeld, T. V. Arrowsmith, Col- 
umbia, City of Alexandria, and City of Washington. The officers of 
tliis company are C. W. Ridley, general manager; J. B. Padgett, gen- 
eral agent, and Jonathan P. Crowley, treasurer. 

Other steamboat lines are those of the People's Washington and 
jSTorfolk Steamboat Company, the successor to the Inland and Sea- 
board Coasting Company, which latter company was the successor of 
the Washington, Georgetown, Alexandria, and JSTew York Steamship 
company, organized as early as 1867; the Independent Steamboat and 
Barge Company, organized in 1889; and of E. S. Randall, and George L. 



The Bank of Columbia — The Bank of the United States — OfRee of Discount and De- 
posit in Washington — "Tlie Produce Bank of the Potoniac" — The Bank of the 
MetropoHs — The National Metropolitan Bank— The Bank of Washington — The 
National Bank of Washington — The T^nion Bank of Georgetown — The Central 
Bank of Georgetown and Washington — The Farmers and Mechanics' Bank — The 
Patriotic Bank — Confusion of the Finances — The Second National Bank — John 
C. Calhoun on the National Bank — Directors of the Branch Bank in Washington 
— President Jackson's Animosity to the National Bank — Suspension of Specie 
Payments — Extension of Charters of the District Banks — Troubles with the Cur- 
rency—President Tyler's Vetoes — The Banks of the District Practically Extin- 
guished — The Freedman's Saving and Trust Company — Riggs & Company — First 
National Bank — Merchants' National Bank — National Bank of the Re])ublic — 
National Saviiiprs Bank — National Safe De])Osit Company — National Capital Bank 
of Washington — Second National Bank — Citizens' National Bank — Washington 
Safe Deposit Company — Columbia National Bank — Washington Loan and Trust 
Company — American Security and Trust Company — Lincoln National Bank — 
West End National Bank — Traders' National Bank — Ohio National Bank — Private 
Banking Institutions. 

'^T^HE Bank of Columbia was establislied at Georgetown in 1793, and 
J^ was tiie first institution within wljat afterward became tlie Dis- 
trict of Columbia. It was established by Samuel Blodgett, assisted 
by Mr. Stoddert and Gov.ornor Johnson, of Fredericktown. Samuel 
Ilannon was cashier from its establishment up to 1801, when, not- 
withstanding his earnest protest, he was superseded by William 
Whann. When the Bank of Potomac was established in 1804, there 
were immediately' made severe criticisms on banks as institutions, and 
Mr. Blodgett, in September of that year, made an elaborate defense 
of them, and of his own course in connection with them. "I trust it 
is now universally known tliat the invarial^le and only effectts of the 
American banking system, as it has been hitherto practiced with 
astonishing success, have been almost immediately to extend the com- 
mercial and mechanical operations of every eligible place where these 
institutions have been formed, and finally, on account of the great 
profits attained to the stock and realized in semi-annual dividends, 
to draw foreign capital for the purposes thereof, and often at an 
advanced premium — a clear gain to tlie community." lie also said: 


"An ignorance of tbo effects, at the time, occasioned tlie exclusive 
monopolizing clause in the constitution of the Bank of the United 
States, Congress seeing how that foreigners, by holding almost the 
whole of this bank, are beneiited, against the principles of equality 
which we cherish in our commercial regulations for the general benefit 
of our fellow-citizens, they will therefore repeal the injurious clause 
in any application for a renewal of the charter now nearly expired. 
They will then grant the same privileges, not only to the Bank of 
Potomac, but to several others I hope to see instituted in the Terri- 
tory of Columbia in due time. We have now about |39,000,000 of 
banking capital in the United States. England alone has about 
$600,000,000 of banking capital, and to equal her beneficial experience 
we might, for six millions of people, if more compactly situated, carry 
our banking capital to at least seven times its present sum, and to 
the same advantages," etc. 

On March 20, 1809, directors of this bank were elected, as follows: 
John Mason, C. Worthington, William Marbury, John Cox, John 
Threlkeld, Walter Smith, Henry Foxall, Marshall Waring, James 
Dunlop, Philip B. Key, Jeremiah Wins, and Thomas Peter. John 
Mason was elected president, and was continued in this office until 
1816. ]Sr, Frye, Jr., succeeded General Mason, and was himself suc- 
ceeded, in 1828, by Richard T. Lowndes, who continued to serve 
until 1837. William Wliann served as cashier up to within a few 
months of his death, on February 5, 1822, in Cecil County, Mary- 
land, whither lie had gone in hope of recovering his health, but in 
vain.' Mr. Whann was succeeded as cashier by D. Kurtz, who served 
until 1828, when he w\as succeeded by Richard Smith. 

^A friend of Mr. Wliaiiii, immediately after his death, wrote of him as follows: 
" Perfection is not given to mortals, but if there ever was a truly good man the 
deceased was one. He was indeed the good citizen, the kind parent, the true friend, 
the sincere Christian. Hoping to find restoration of health in the quiet of a country 
life, and a calm for his wounded feelings, caused by a succession of atllictions and 
misfortunes which had recently come to him, he resigned a position whicli he had 
held for more than twenty years, and went to his immediate relatives; but it was 
all in vain, and he dieil on the day above given. 

"Then, reader, forgive this friendly zeal to save 
Virtues like his from an oblivious grave. 
I seek not his pure monument to raise 
On the weak ))asis of a mortal's praise; 
Nor yet to give, with still a vainer aim. 
His modest merit to the voice of fame: 
No — let his virtues in our bosoms rest, 
To life's last hour indelildy impressed." 


Who was president after Mr. Lowndes, if anyone, or cashier 
after Ricliard Sniitli, could not be ascertained, nor tlie precise date 
of the faihire of the bank, notwithstanding more time was spent in 
the attempt to ascertain these facts than was warranted by their 
intrinsic value. The last legislation by Congress relating to this 
bank was approved February 25, 18-30, by which its charter was 
extended to March 4, 1839. It also provided that no discounts 
should be made except such as might be deemed proper to renew 
such notes as had already been discounted, and that no more promis- 
sory notes should be put in circulation. This legislation also provided 
that instead of a president and nine directors, as then required by law, 
a board should be elected on the first Thursday in March, 1836, and 
each year tliereafter, so long as the law itself remained in force, who 
should elect one of themselves president; and the stockholders were 
authorized to choose trustees to wind up the affairs. It is therefore 
altogether probable that this bank ceased to exist about 1839. 

On February 4, 1806, at a meeting of the president and directors 
of the Bank of the United States, the following gentlemen, from 
Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria, were elected directors of 
the office of discount and deposit for the District of Columbia for 
one year: Joseph Carleton, Thomas Tingey, William Brent, James 
D. Barry, John P. Van Ness, Caleb Swan, Thomas Munroe, Joseph 
bourse, David Peter, William Stewart, Lewis Leblois, Benjamin 
Shreve, Jr., and Phineas Janney. On the 3d of March, John P. Van 
Ness was elected president of the board. February 3, 1807, the same 
gentlemen were again elected directors, and Mr. Van Ness president. 
February 2, 1808, the same board was again elected, with tlie 
exception that John Tayloe was chosen in ' the place of Jose[)h 
Carleton. February 7, 1809, tlie following gentlemen were elected 
members of this board: John P. Van Ness, William Stewart, 
Thomas Tingey, Caleb Swan, Joseph Nourse, James D. Barry, Thomas 
Munroe, Lewis Deblois, Elias B. Caldwell, Walter Ilellen, William 
Brent, David Peter, and John Tayloe. February 6, 1810, the same 
gentlemen were again elected, except that James Sanderson was chosen 
in place of Caleb Swan, 

This appears to have been the last election of officers for the 
branch of the Bank of the United States in the District of Columbia; 
and the l)aids: itself soon became extinct through the failure of Congress 
to renew its charter. The main reason for this refusal was the fact 
that the directors and a majority of the stockholders were Federalists, 
and hence the institution itself was looked upon as a Federal institu- 


tion. Bat notwithstiiiidiug this feeling of prejudice, which should not 
have actuated any member qualified to be a member of Congress, the 
bill providing for its recharter passed the House of Representatives, 
and in the Senate received seventeen votes to the same number 
against it, its fate being decided by the vote against it of Vice-Presi- 
dent Clinton, who had been opposed to the formation of the Federal 
Constitution, and to any institution more national than those author- 
ized by the old Confederation, and at the time of voting against the 
recharter of this bank still cherished the same tendencies, slightly 
modified. At the present day, this fact would seem to have been a 
sufficient reason for electing some other person, one in favor of the 
National Constitution and of national institutions, to the Vice-Presi- 

After the expiration of the charter of tliis bank, in 1811, the 
business of the otiice of discount and deposit in Washington was 
conducted for a time by a temporary board of agents, of which John 
P. Van Ness was chairman. Still later, a committee was appointed, 
consisting of Messrs. Tayloe, Alunroe, Ilellen, Peter, Sanderson, and 
Rowles, to manage the business, with a view of winding up its 
affairs. This having been accomplished, it was soon found necessary 
to make an attempt to establish another bank in Washington, there 
being then but one little bank, on Capitol Hill, which had not funds 
sufficient for the canal, road stock, and for the business houses in 
the vicinity of its own property. The extension of the Bank of 
Columbia in the Treasury Department had been felt onl}' as a 
nuisance, stimulating hope with the certainty' of ending in disappoint- 
ment, and even this feeling of hope had been felt only by a few, as 
no reasonable man could calculate upon an accommodation in George- 
town, except upon the usual principles of accommodating to secure 
greater wants. In short, the people were distressed for want of bank 
accommodations, the commerce of the Potomac being nearly at a 
standstill in consequence of limited bank facilities. The building of 
the then late office of discount and deposit was soon upon the 
market, and available for the use of any new institution of the kind 
that might be established, and the citizens of Washington were 
invited to attend a meeting at Davis"s Hotel on Wednesday, March 
25, 1812, to appoint commissioners to open subscriptions to the stock 
of a new bank. Among the })rinciples to be determined at this 
meeting were these, according to the gentleman calling it: First, as 
to the exclusive accommodation of dealers in the produce of the 
Potomac — hence the suo-i-'estion that the bank should be named "Tlie 

HISTORY ()/■ /;.LVA7XC. 355 

Produce l>ank of "flie Potomac"; second, tlie extent of the cuiiitiil 
of the new bank, which the i^anie gentleman suggested should he 
$1,500,000; third, the commissioners to open the subscriptions. The 
following names were suggested as those of proper persons: Colonel 
John Tayloe, John P. Van Ness, Commodore Tingey, Charles Carroll 
of Bellevue, Lewis Dcblois, Elias B. Caldwell, Thomas Munroe, Walter 
ILellen, Tench Ringgold, Buller Cocke, James Davidson, Silas Butler, 
C. W. Goldsborou^'h, William Simmons, John Graham, and D. 

At the meeting held in pursuance of the above suggestion, Charles 
Carroll, of Bellevue, was elected chairman, and Edmund Law secretary. 
It was then resolved, unanimously, that there be appointed seventeen 
commissioners to draw up articles of association and to open subscrip- 
tion books for the proposed new bank. Of the above-named gentlemen 
all were appointed, except Lewis Deblois, Tench Ringgold, William 
Simmons, John Graham, and D. Sheldon; and in addition, there 
were appointed Washington Boyd, Roger C. Weightman, Andrew 
Way, James D. Barry, Phineas Bradley, and James H. Blake. These 
commissioners were authorized to fix upon a "scite" for the bank, 
the capital stock, and the president's house. At a subsequent meeting 
the commissioners submitted articles of association for an institution 
to be named "The President and Directors of the American Bank." 
The association was to continue twenty-one years. The capital stock 
was to be $1,000,000, divided into shares of |40 each, and the copart- 
nership was to transact its business in the city of Washington. After 
several attempts to hold meetings and to secure subscriptions, the com- 
missioners gave up the attempt to establish the bank; and at length, 
on January 20, 1813, the citizens of Washington who were desirous 
of having a second bank o[)ened in tlie city were requested to meet 
at McLeod's Tavern on the 25th of that month for the purpose of 
choosing commissioners to carry out the project. General John 
P. Van Ness was called to the chair, and Alexander Kerr made 
secretary. But little was accomplished at this meeting, and a second 
meeting was held, February 1, 181o, at which it was resolved that, as 
it was not known that there was any application before Congress for 
a new bank when they commenced operations, they would await the 
result of that application before proceeding any further. 

This application does not appear to have resulted in the establish- 
ment of any banking institution, and in November, 1813, the movement 
postponed, as above related, was again taken up, and at a meeting 
held at Davis's Hotel, on the 25th of that month, thirteen commis- 


sioners were ap[K)iiite(l to act under articles of association adopted at 
that meeting. The next meeting, lield at Davis's Hotel, January 3, 
1814, was of the stockholders of the new bank, which was named "The 
Bank of the Metropolis." John P. Van ISTess was cliosen president of 
the new bank, and Alexander Kerr cashier. The location of this bank 
was at the corner of F and Fifteenth streets, east of the Treasury 
building. John P. Van ISTess was continued as president of this bank 
until 1842. Alexander Kerr was cashier until his death, in 1832, when 
he was succeeded by George Thomas, who was succeeded in 1846 l)y 
Richard Smith. In 1829, the capital of this bank was $500,000, and 
its total assets |645,815.15. Toward the close of the War of 1812-15, 
when General Jackson made an appeal for funds with which to pay 
the American soldiers, this bank loaned largely to the Government, 
After General Jackson became President of the United States, he kept 
his private accounts with this bank, and after the removal of tlie 
deposits from the United States ]3ank this bank was made a public 
depository. After the retirement of General Van jSTess from the presi- 
dency of this bank, John W. Maury served in that capacity, and 
liicluird Smith continued as cashier for many years. At length, it 
was organized under the National Banking law as the National Metro- 
politan Bank, with John B. Blake president, and Moses Kelly cashier. 
Mr, Blake remained president until 1874, when he was succeeded by 
John W. Thompson,' who is still the president, Moses Kelly was 
suc('eeded as cashier, in 1874, by George H. B, White, who is cashier 
at the present time. When Mr. Thompson became president, the 
surplus amounted to about thirty per cent, of the capital of the bank, 

^ John W, Thompson, one of the leading ))anker.s, business men, and financiers 
of Washington, came to tliis city from New York City in lS4i>. Upon his arrival here 
he at once entered into an active Inisiness life. Daring the War of the Rebellion, he 
was identified with the Government of the United States. He was afterward connected 
with the Board of Aldermen, and was appointed by President Grant to the upper 
house of the Legislature of the District of Columbia. He was president of the New 
York, Alexandria, Washington, and Georgetown Steamship Company, established for 
the purpose of trading between New York City and the District of Cohunbia. He 
was one of the principal movers in the building of the Metropolitan Street Railroad, 
and was for several years president of the company. He has been connected with 
numerous businesses, and has l)een and is to-day one of tlie most successful business 
men in Washington. This success has led to his selection to till important positions 
1)oth in business and civic circles. He was chairman of the (iarlield inauguration 
committee, and under his management the committee was able to return all the money 
subscril)ed as a guaranty fund, for the lii'st time in the history of the country. He 
has been president of the National Metropolitan J'.ank since 1874, and his high 
standing in business and social circles and in the church is the best evidence of tlie 
estimation in which he is held by his fellow-men. 




which was then, and is now $300,000, while at the present time the 
surplus and undivided i)rofits, on the first of March, 1892, amounted 
to $320,286.68, 

The Bank of Washington was cliartered in 1809, and was the 
first hank established in Washington. The capital stock was $100,000. 
Daniel Carroll, of Dnddington, was its first president, and Samuel 
Eliot, Jr., its first cashier. The capital, after the first payment, was paid 
in in installments, Mr. Eliot, the cashier, on February 10, 1810, notify- 
ing the subscribers that the fourth installment of |2 on each share would 
be due on March 3, following, at the temporary banking house of 
the institution, which was located on Capitol Hill, near Kew Jersey 
Avenue. A committee was appointed to "erect a banking house, and 
to receive proposals up to July 25, 1810, of which committee Frederick 
May was chairman. Just where this banking house was erected has 
not been ascertained. The last installment on the capital stock was 
due on September 4, 1810, and had to be paid in order to avoid 
forfeiture of what had already been paid in. Sometime between 1820 
and 1830, the business was removed from the building erected by 
the committee mentioned above to the National Hotel, and on Sep- 
tember 27, 1831, a resolution was adopted that the brick building 
owned by John Stetinus, and occupied by Mauro & Son, auctioneers, 
standing where now stands the fine marble building of the National 
Bank of Washington, at the junction of Louisiana Avenue and C 
Street Northwest, be purchased, and into this building the baidv 
moved in 1832. Daniel Carroll, of Dnddington, served as president of 
the bank until September, 1819, when he was succeedetl by Samuel 
H. Smith, who served in .this capacity until February, 1828; George 
Culvert was then president until September, 1830; Thomas Munroe, 
until January, 1835; William Gunton, until December, 1880; Edward 
Temple, until January, 1888; and Charles A. James, until the pres- 
ent time. 

Samuel Eliot, Jr., served as cashier until June, 1819, when 
he was succeeded by William A. Bradley, who served until July, 
1826, when he resigned, and was succeeded by Roger Chew Weight- 
man. Mr. Weightman served until October, 1834; John H. Reilly, until 
November, 1836; James Adams, from November, 1836, until July, 
1870; Charles A. James, from July, 1870, until January, 1888; and 
C. E. White, from January, 1888, until the i)resent time. 

In January, 1886, this institution was organized as the "National 
Bank of Washington," witli officers as noted above. According to 
its last published statement, its capital is $250,000, and its surplus 


and undivided }irotits ainoiiiited at the same time, March 1, 1802, to 

The Union Bank of Georgetinvn, District of Columbia, was 
cliartered by Congress, March 11, 1811. The ca^tital stock of the 
bank was $500,000, in |50 siiares. For most of the time during 
the existence of this bank, Robert Beverly was its president, and 
David English appears to have been cashier during its entire existence. 
In 1840, it went into liquidation, but its charter was extended from 
time to time until 1841», to allow its affairs to be fully settled. 

The Central Bank of Georgetown and Washington was chartered 
March o, 1817, and when organized John Tayloe was president, and 
A. R. Levering cashier. Mr. Tayloe resigned the presidency in 
May, 1818, and was succeeded by Francis Dodge, who remained 
president during the bank's short existence. March 2, 1821, Con- 
o-ress passed an act authorizing tliis bank to pay oft' its debts and 
close its affairs, there being then too many banks in the District of 

Tlie Farmers and Mechanics' Bank of Georgetown was started 
in 1814, at a meeting held February 15, at Crawford's Hotel. The 
gentlemen present were William Marbury, Thomas Turner, John 
Lee, J. Melvin, R. Riggs, L. TI. Johns, George C. Washington, T. B. 
Beall, T. Robertson, and Charles W. Goldborough. William Marbury 
was elected president, and Thomas Van Swearingen, of Shepherdstown, 
was chosen director in his place. A committee was a[)pointed to 
memorialize Congress for a charter, consisting of William Marbury, 
T. B. Beall, and John Lee. The salary of the president was tixed 
at $500 per year, and tliat of the casliier at $1,600 per year. Clement 
Smith was then elected cashier. A committee was then appointed, 
consisting of the president, cashier, and L. 11. Johns, T. Robertson, and 
T. Turner, to receive proposals for a l)anking-house site. March 1, 
1814, Mr. John Peters ottered to sell the house at the corner of Bridge 
(now M) and Congress (now Thirty-tirst ) streets for $14,000, and tliis 
otter was accepted by the new bank, payable in eight months from 
the 15th of March, 1814. On March 21, 1814, the casliier was allowed 
the [trivilege either of living in the banking house, or of' accepting in 
lieu of this }»rivilege $4<l0 additiomd pei- year as salary. On April 4, 
John I. StuU was appointed teller, Horatio Jones bookkeeper, and 
Robert Reed discount clerk. On May 17, 1814, the following resolu- 
tion was adopted: "That the cashier be authorized and required to 
take to the amount of $5»),000 of the last loan of the United States 
for the use and benettt of the bank, provided it can be obtained as 

fl/STORY OF /i.hVAVNC. 359 

origiiiiil subscribers, witb all the benefit and u(Ivanta_i;"es tliat have or 
may accrue to them." 

.Inly 8, 1817, Clement Smith was elected president of the l)ank, 
l)nt soon afterward Thomas B, Beall was elected, jind served nntil 
1820, Clement Smith continning to serve as cashier nntil 1820. The 
original capital of the bank was $500,000, and in Jan nary it was 
resolved that the capital shonld not be reduced to less than $450,000. 
Clement Smith became president of the bank in 1820, and Jolm I. Stull 
cashier. December 18, 1823, Thomas Wilson resigned as a member of 
the board of directors, and Kaphael Semmes was chosen in his })lace. 
On January 1, 1829, the capital of this bank was $485,900, and its 
entire assets $793,191.97. April 12, 1834, its board of directors resolved 
to suspend specie payments, saying, in explanation of their course: 
"They foresee that the present prostration of business confidence, and 
consequent derangement of the currency, must eventually reduce them 
to this course, and they prefer to anticipate the event b}' yielding at 
once to the pressure, rather than to avert it by liolding out during 
the short practical period of delay, at the expense of sacrificing the 
permanent interests of the bank. This measure is of temporary dura- 
tion. The board see no necessity, in the condition of the bank, for 
extending it be^'ond the present singular crisis in the banking history 
of the country, and confidently anticipate the resumption of active 
business on a specie basis as soon as tliis crisis shall pass away." 

John Kurtz succeeded Mr. Smith as president in 1841; Robert 
Reed became president in 1850; George Shoemaker, in 1862, and 
Henry M. Sweenej', in 1865. John I. Stull served as cashier until 
1841; Alexander Suter, until 1848; William Lang, until 1851, and 
William Laird became cashier in that year. 

The original charter of this bank was dated March, 3, 1817, and 
it was renewed by Congress from time to time, and the stock of the 
bank, wliieh, on account of the varying fortunes of the banking 
interests of the country, fiuctnated considerably during the "singular 
crisis," preci[»itated by the opposition to these interests manifested by 
one of the great political parties, gradually rose from fifty cents on 
the dollar in 1838 to above par in 1870. 

On January 15, 1872, this bank was organized as a national 
bank under the name it now bears, "The Farmers and Mechanics' 
National Bank of Georgetown." At the time of this organization, the 
following nine directors were elected: Heniy M. Sweeney, Philip 
T. Berry, William C. Magee, Evan Pickrell, William King, Francis 
Wheatly, John Davidson, Cliarles M. Matthews, and Evan Lyons. 


Henry M. Sweeney was continued as president of tlie bank, and is 
still its president, having served in that capacity during a period of 
thirty-six years. William Laird was continued as cashier, and served 
in the same capacity for forty years. 

The Patriotic Bank was established in May, 1815, and ou June 
5, following, the following directors were elected: Robert Brent, 
Thomas Law, James D. Barry, Daniel Porter, Timothy Winn, Phineas 
Bradley, George Way, Thomas Munroe, William Prout, Stephen 
Pleasanton, George Beall, David (3tt, and Nicholas Young. On June 
7, Robert Brent was chosen })resident, and Overton Carr cashier. 
Joseph Pearson was elected president in 1824, and also in 1825. On 
June 28, 1825, this bank opened its business in its new banking 
house, at the intersection of Seventh and D streets jSTorthwest, oppo- 
site the office of the National Intelligencer. On June 1, 1829, the 
capital stock was S250,000, and its total assets 1503,133.87. In 1832, 
G. E. Dyson was cashier, he having sometime before succeeded 
R. T. Weightman. On April 14, 1834, at a special meeting, it was 
resolved that, in the opinion of the board of directors, the interests of 
the bank and of its creditors required that the payment of specie for 
its obligations ought to be suspended; that the bank was able to pay 
110 per cent, to the stockholders, and that the creditors of the bank 
be requested not to sacritice their claims. "In making known this 
determination, the board need hardly say that nothing but the extraor- 
dinary juncture of affairs could have brought them to the painful 
necessity of this annunciation" — signed by W. A. Bradley, president, 
and G. E. Dyson, cashier. This bank resumed specie payment July 
10, 1836, by unanimous resolution, ])ut on May 12, 1837, it was again 
compelled to suspend, in common with the other banks throughout 
the countr}'. This was done at the request of the shareholders of the 
bank. At that time, a brief statement of the condition of the bank 
was made public, as follows: Debts due by the bank, $326,560.48; 
del)ts due to the bank, including real estate, $528,256.67; capital stock 
outstanding, $171,040; entire surplus, $30,656.19. P. Thompson was 
cashier in 1839, and C. Bestoi- in 1846, Mr. Bradley remaining presi- 
dent. In 1840, this bank ()[)ened a savings department, receiving sums 
of $5 and upward, upon which it })aid interest until the money was 
withdrawn. This was the first savings bank in Washington. 

During the War of 1812-15, with Great Britain, the finances of 
the country fell into inextricable confusion; the Government was 
obliged to borrow monej' at a ruinous rate of interest, giving SlOO for 
and taking the proceeds in tlie notes of banks which c(nild not 


pay specie, the notes being worth from sixty to ninety cents on the 
dolhir. Under such disastrous and distressing circumstances as these 
the evils inflicted on the country by Vice-President Clinton's vote 
against the renewal of tlie charter of the old National Bank, already 
referred to, were plaiidy visible to those who understood financial 
matters, and the necessity of such an institution was painfully exi)cri- 
enced. In this state of things, at the session of Congress of 1813-14, 
Hon. Felix Grundy, of Tennessee, introduced a measure into the 
House of Representatives looking to the establishment of a national 
baidv, which was referred to the proper committee. Action upon the 
question was not taken at that session "for want of time," although 
Mr. Grundy was of the opinion that there was plenty of time; but 
in November, 1814, the question again came up, and in connection 
with the discussion the National Intelligence?' said: " Tliose in Congress 
who doubt the constitutional power of Congress to establish a national 
bank are not few; and if we add to the number those vviio are opposed 
to the measure for sustaining the public credit, inasmuch as nothing- 
would delight them more than to see the wheels of government 
stopped by national bankruptcy, we shall lind a formidable phalanx 
in Congress arrayed against a national bank, however organized." 

These remarks were designed for the Federalists, manv of whom 
believed the war with Great Britain wdiolly unnecessary. The bill, as 
presented in the House of Representatives, November 14, 1814, named 
only Boston, New York, Bhiladelphia, Baltimore, Richmond, Charles- 
ton, and Pittsburgh, as places where subscriptions to the capital stock 
were to be received, thus contining the opportunities to subscribe almost 
exclusively to the Atlantic cities. This was far from satisfactory to 
many Western members of Congress, and upon motion of Mr. Sharp, 
of Kentucky, Lexington was added; on motion of Mr. Robertson, New 
Orleans; on motion of Mr. Harris, Nashville, Tennessee; on motion ot 
Mr. Lewis, Washington, District of Columbia, Raleigh, North Carolina, 
Savannah, Georgia, and New Brunswick, New Jersej", were also added, 
and Pittsburgh stricken out. 

For Washington, District of CoUunbia, Robert Brent, Walter 
Smith, and Thomas Swann were made the commissioners to receive 
subscriptions. Mr. Lewis then made a motion contemplating the 
location of the princi[>al bank in Washington, but this was opposed 
by Mr. Fisk, of New York, the Ways and Means Committee having 
selected Philadelphia for that honor. Of this committee Hon. John 
C. Calhoun, of South Carolina, who had entered Congress about the 
beginning of the war, was chairman, and in this responsible position 


lie introduced the bill, ably advocated it, and really carried it through 
the House. This, however, was ou its final passage. Previously to its 
reaching this point, its history is of considerable interest. On January 
2, 1815, the bill, coming u}i for final action in the House of Repre- 
sentatives, was apparently carried by 81 afKrniative to 80 negative 
votes. But the Speaker, Hon. Langdon Clieves, from South Carolina, 
called attention to the rule of the House which permitted the Speaker 
to vote in two cases, of which this was one, and, declaring his 
conviction that the Ijill was a dangerous measure, cast his vote 
against it, and thus made the vote in the House a tie, and then 
decided that the bill was lost. On January 8, however, in an amended 
form, the bill passed the House by a vote of 120 to 38, and it passed 
the Senate by a good majority. But on January 30, President 
Madison returned it, without liis a}>proval, to the Senate. 

On April 5, 1810, however, the bill, having passed the House of 
l\ei)resentatives by a vote of 80 yeas to 71 uays, passed the Senate by 
a vote of 22 yeas to 12 nays, and on the 10th of the same month it 
was signed by the President, and thus became a law. Of tliose who 
voted for the bill moi-e than two-thirds were "Republicans," or "Dem- 
ocrats,'' as they were indifferently called, in contradistinction to the 
"Federalists,'" who numbered aliout three-fourths of those who voted 
against the bill. But all (^f tliose who thus voted were not opposed 
to a national bank, l^eiiig opposed only to certain features of the 
bill, and voted against it in the hope of throwing it back again into 
the committee, and of thus having an opportunity to eliminate the 
features which were objectionable to them. 

Tliis was a great triumph for the friends of a sound currency, and 
foi" those who were in favor of a vigorous prosecution of the war. 
The baidc went into immediate operation, but for some years the 
sanguine anticipations entertained of public advantage from its opera- 
tions were not realized. The difSculties were, that the country, at the 
close of the Revolutionary War, was flooded with .^200,000,000 worth 
of foreign fabrics, which were sold at an\' price that could be obtained, 
witli the view of Ijreaking down the manufacturing industries of the 
young Ivepublic, and the entire country was overwhelmed with both 
pul)lic and pi'ivate debt; and in addition to these things, the currency 
was in a most deplorable condition, as a consequence of the failure to 
renew the charter of tlie old National Bank. For these reasons it 
was an impossibility for the bank to restore everything to a prosperous 
condition in a short })eriod of time, even by affording every facility in 
its power. After a time, however, aided by a more efficient tariff and 


an improved managenieiit of the att'airs of the bank itself, tlie country 
began to emerge from its embarrassments, and from 1819 to 1834 the 
bank prospered, and gave to tbe country the best currency that the 
worUl had ever seen. 

When everything was in tliis prosperous condition, when tlie 
National Bank was recognized as a most useful institution, Hon. 
John C. Calhoun, to whom credit has alread}- been given for the 
success of the efibrts in Congress to charter this bank, said, in 1832: 
"I may sa}' with truth, that the bank owes as much to me as to any 
other individual in the country; and I might even add, that had it 
not been for my efforts it would not have been chartered. I might 
content myself with saj'ing that, having been on the political stage 
without interruption from that day to this, having been an attentive 
observer of the question of the currency throughout the whole period, 
the bank has been an indispensable agent in the restoration of specie 
payments; that witliout it such restoration could not have been 
effected short of the utter prostration of all moiiied institutions in 
the countrj', and an entire depreciation of baidv pa[)er; and that it 
has not only restored S[iecie payments, but has given a currency far 
more uniform, between the extremes of the countr}', than was antici- 
pated or even dreamed of at the time of its creation." 

Under this act the president of the bank ap[iointed as commis- 
sioners to superintend the taking of subscriptions in Washington, 
General John Mason of Georgetown, Thomas Swann of Alexandria, 
and General John P. Yan Ness of Wasliington. Subscription books 
were opened on Monday, July 1, 1816, and closed on the 23d of the 
same month. The amount subscribed here \\\) to that time was $1,- 
293,000, an amount far exceeding what had been anticipated. By the 
same time the subscriptions in Richmond amounted to |1, 702, 000; in 
Baltimore, to $4,014,100; in Wilmington, Delaware, to $465,000; in 
Trenton, New Jersey, to $130,000; in New York City, to $2,500,000; 
etc. By August 29, the total amount subscribed amounted to $25,000,- 
000. The deficiency of $3,000,000 was subscribed by Stephen Girard, 
"a wealth}' citizen of Philadelphia." 

On January 27, 1817, the following gentlemen were appointed 
directors of the Branch Bank of the United States in Washington: 
liichard Cutts, Thomas Munroe, B. Thruston, R. C. Weightman, G. 
Bomford, G. Graham, and William Brent, of Washington; Thomas 
Tudor Tucker, J. Deane, and Thomas Swann, of Alexandria, and 
W. Smith, VV. S. Chandler, and K. Parrott, of Georgetown, liichard 
Smith was chosen cashier, and the office began business on Saturday, 


Febnuiry 8, 1817. General Joliu P. Van Ness was elected president 
of this branch. This branch bank continued in successful operation 
until the main bank was slaughtered, when, from the necessities of the 
ease, it wound up its affairs. 

During the Presidential campaign of 1828, at the close of which 
Andrew Jackson was elected to the Presidency, his elevation was 
urged on every imaginable ground except that of the overthrow of 
the United States Bank. Although some of his zealous partisans 
adduced even the failure of the crops in certain localities as evidence 
that nothing could flourish under the rule of such an administration 
-IS that of John Quincy Adams, yet no man complained of the 
L'urrenc}', or demanded any radical change in the American banking 
system, thus showing most conclusively that that system was univer- 
sally po[)ular. But soon after General Jackson's inauguration, lie 
managed to involve himself needlessl}' in a controversy with the 
management of the United States Bank. His Secretarj' of the Treas- 
ury demanded the removal of Jeremiah Mason, president of the 
branch of this baidv at Portsmouth, Xew Hampshire, because Presi- 
dent Mason was not a stanch friend of the Jackson administration. 
But as this demand was not accompanied bj' any evidence of, or even 
any allegation of, misconduct or incompetency in President Mason, 
compliance therewith was necessarily declined. Nicholas Biddle was 
then president of the United States Bank, and during this contro- 
versy had of course stood by President Mason, and this was sufHcient 
reason for President Jackson to make war on the institution of which 
Mr. Biddle was president. 

In his annual message to Congress soon afterward, he took 
occasion to observe that the time would soon arrive when the question 
of granting a recharter to the Bank of the United States would come 
before that body, and stated that "both the constitutionality and 
expediency of such an institution had been well questioned." The 
portion of the message containing this assertion was referred by the 
House to its Committee of Ways and Means, of which the Hon. 
George McDufHe, of South Carolina, was chairman. The entire 
committee, including its chairman, were supporters of General Jack- 
son, and hence their report on this extraordinary statement is of 
special value. This committee gave grave consideration to the whole 
subject, and made a lengthy report, strongly in favor both of the 
constitutionality and expediency of a national bank. On the point 
of constitutionality, they said, in part, — for only brief extracts can 
be given in this work, and that more for the purpose of indicat- 


iiig tlie direction of their tliouglit than of presenting the argument 
in full: 

"If the concurrence of all the departments of the Government, at 
dift'erent periods of our history, under every administration, and 
during the ascendency of both political parties into which the country 
has been divided, soon after the adoption of the present Constitution, 
shall be regarded as having the authority of such sanctions by tlie 
common consent of all well-regulated communities, the constitutional 
power of Congress to incorporate a bank may be assumed as a i)Os- 
tulate no longer open to controversy. In little more than two years 
after the Government went into operation, and at a period when 
most of tlie distinguislied members of the Federal Constitutional 
Convention were either in the executive or legislative councils, the 
act incorporating the lirst Bank of the United States passed both 
branches of Congress by large majorities, and received tlie deliberate 
sanction of President Washington, wlio had then recently presided 
over the deliberations of the convention. The constitutional power 
of Congress to pass this act of incorporation was thoroughly investi- 
gated, both in the Executive Cabinet and in Congress, under circum- 
stances in all respects propitious to a dispassionate discussion. . . . No 
person can be more competent to give a just construction of the 
Constitution than those who had a principal agency in forming it; 
and no administration can claim a more perfect exemption from all 
those influences which sometimes pervert the judgment even of the 
most wise and patriotic, than that of the Father of his Country during 
the first term of liis service." 

On the point of expediency, the committee said: "Indeed, bank 
credit and bank paper are so extensively interwoven with the com- 
mercial operations of society, that, even if Congress had the constitu- 
tional power, it would be utterly an impossibility, to produce so entire 
a change in the monetary system of the country as to abolish the 
agency of banks of discount, without involving tlie community in all 
the distressing embarrassments usually attendant on great political 
revolutions, subverting the titles of private property." 

The committee also said, and this proved to be in the nature of 
a prediction, if not of a prophecy: "If the Bank of the United 
States were destroyed, and local institutions left without its restraining 
influence, the currency would almost certainly lapse into a state of 
unsoundness. The pressure which the present bank would cause in 
winding up its concerns would compel them either to curtail their 
discounts, when most needed, or to suspend specie payments. It is 


not difficult to predict wliicli of these altermitives they would adopt 
under the circumstances in which they would be placed. ... It has 
this decided advantage over the army and navy; while they are of 
scarcely any advantage except in the time of war, the bank is not less 
so in peace. It has another advantage still greater. If, like the army 
and navy, it should cost the nation millions annually to sustain it, the 
expediency of the expenditure might be doubtful; but when it actually 
saves to tlie Government and to the country more millions annuall}' 
than are expended in sui)porting both the army and nav}', it would 
seem that, if there was one measure of national policy upon whicii 
all political parties of the country should be brought to unite by the 
impressive lessons of experience, it is that of maintaining a national 
bank." The report which this committee made was concurred in by 
Congress, and the subject dropped for a time. 

But neither reason nor the lessons of experience had any effect 
upon President Jackson's mind, especially where his friendship or 
enmity was strongly enlisted, as the latter was in this case against the 
president of the United States Bank; and he therefore continued to 
press the mattei* upon the attention of Congress. At length, in 1832, a 
l>ill was reported by a committee of his political friends in the Senate 
and passed tlirough both Houses of Congress, which were strongly 
in his favor, rechartering the United States Bank. As was to be 
expected, President Jackson vetoed this bill, but explicitly stated that, 
had he been applied to, he would have furnished a plan of a charter 
which would liave been constitutional. An attempt to pass the bill 
over the veto failed for want of the two-thirds majority required by 
tlie Constitution. Had it not been, therefore, for this constitutional 
requirement, that in order to pass a bill over a veto two-thirds of 
each branch of Congress must sanction it, the United States Bank 
would have been rechartered, and the widespread derangement of 
the currency that followed, and the long-continued distress in all 
de})artments of business and of life, would not have occurred. The 
experience of tlie country with the veto power in this instance, and 
in numerous other instances in the subsequent history of the country, 
would seem to indicate the necessitj', or at least the wisdom, of so 
ainending the Constitution that a majority of both Houses of Congress 
should be as [)otent in passing a measure over a veto as in passing 
it in the first place. The wisdom of the President would thus be 
equally available as under tlie present system, and his power for evil 
would l)e reduced to a minimum. 

Ivetnrnino- now to the mirration of local events connected with 


the banks of the District of C-ohimbia, it slioiild be stated that in 
1819 tliere was considerable excitement throughout the country 
ill refei-ence to the suspension of specie payments. But one ohl 
merchant and banker of Georgetown, named Ivomuhis Riggs, pub- 
licly announced that the banks of the District were ]>aying sjiccie 
for their notes, and also stated that he held himself responsible for 
the announcement to that effect. The banks that were then in 
existence in the District were as follows: The Bank of Columbia, the 
Farmers and Meclianics' Bank, the Union Bank, all of Georgetown; 
tlie Central Bank of Washington and Georgetown; the Bank of the 
Metropolis, the Patriotic Bank, the Bank of Washington, all of 
Washington; tlie Bank of Alexandria, the Union Bank of Alexan- 
dria, and the Bank of Potomac, all of Alexandria; and besides 
these, the Branch Bank of the United States at Washington, So that 
Mr. Riggs apparently assumed a good deal of resi)onsibility, but it 
does not appear that he was ever called upon to nuike good any of 
the paper of any of these banks. 

A peculiar feature of tlie monetary history of the District was 
this: that in 1820 the practice prevailed of cutting paper dollars in 
such a wa}' as to make change. In the latter part of May of this 
year, the banks adopted a resolution which was calculated to banish 
from circulation "such an inconvenient and unsightly sort of currency, 
and to bring silver into use in its place. Those who have cut notes 
on hand would do well to exchange them for silver before to-morrow 
evening." This advice was })ublished Maj' 31, so that it appears that 
June 1 was the last day on which these cut notes were received at 
tlie banks. 

In 1834, three of the* banks in the District of Columbia oidy, 
suspended specie payments, the others keeping therefrom by the 
presidents and directors of each, with the exception of the Bank of 
the Metro})olis, each pledging his individual property as secui'ity 
for the debts of their respective banks. The Bank of the Metropolis 
had other means of accomplishing the same results. Later, at the 
near approach of suspension of specie payments by the several baid<s 
of the District, together with the winding up of the affairs of the 
Branch Bank of the United States, it was suggested that it would 
be a most laudable act if the presidents and directors of all future 
banks established in the District, and the stockholders as well, should 
be recpiired by the several charters to pledge their individual fortunes 
for the debts of the banks in which they were interested. The good 
effects, it was thought, which would follow such a requirement would 


be, first, extended contideuce in each of the banks; second, the impos- 
sibility of loss to the conimnnity, even if such a bank should suddenly- 
close its doors; third, increased devotion to the interests of the bank 
by the officers, and a more lively interest in the management of the 
bank by the stockholders. 

In 1835, when it was thought the completion of the Chesapeake 
and Ohio Canal was near at hand, and tlie commerce of the cities of 
the District was about to be increased a hundred fold, it was plain 
that the means of carrying on such commerce was at the same time 
to be rudely taken away. The National Bank, it was conceded, must 
fall, and of course its branch in Washington, which had furnished 
from $1,000,000 to 11,500,000 of the circulating medium, must neces- 
sarily close its doors. Besides this, the charters of the several banks 
in the District would expire in March, 1836, and it was at least prob- 
lematical what disposition Congress would manifest toward them; and 
then, too, even if these charters should be renewed it was thought 
they could not supply capital sufficient for the necessities of trade, 
as they were small institutions, and the competition among them had 
caused a limited circulation of their notes. In order, therefore, to 
prevent the difficulties as thus portrayed to the minds of the public, 
it was thought necessary to establish a new bank to be called tlie 
Bank of the District of Columbia. 

In December, 1835, Congress took up the question of the recharter 
of the banks of the District of Columbia, but not before it was 
necessary for them to do so, as the charters of all of them expired 
March 3, 1836. The debate was upon the resolution offered by Mr. 
Thomas, of Maryland, which was as follows: 

" i?<?so^rec/. That a select committee be appointed to inquire into 
the condition of the currency of the District of Columbia, to whom 
shall be referred all other memorials which may be presented to tlie 
present Congress, praying for an extension of the charters of the exist- 
ing banks in said District of Columbia, or for the establishment of 
any other bank or banks in their stead, and to inquire into the condi- 
tion of the currency in said District, to inspect the books and to 
examine into the proceedings of said banks, to ascertain whether their 
charters have been violated or not, and whether any abuses or mal- 
feasances have existed in their management — to send for })ersons and 
papers, to examine witnesses on oath, and to appoint a clerk to report 
their proceedings." 

This resolution, after warm debate, in which the Hon. John 
Quincy Adams l)ore a most coiispicuous pai't, and after it was amended 


by striking out the words, "to whom shall l)e reteri-ed all other 
memorials which may be presented to the present Congress," was 
adopted, and the following select committee appointed: Mr. Thomas of 
Maryland, Mr. Pierce of New Hampshire, Mr. Reed of Massaclinsetts, 
Mr, May of Illinois, Mr. Beaumont of Pennsylvania, Mr. Huntsman 
of Tennessee, Mr. Pinckney of South Carolina, Mr. Garland of 
Louisiana, and Mr. Claiborne of Mississippi. 

On January 5, 1836, Mr. Benton, in the Senate, introduced a 
resolution for the appointment of a select committee of five members 
to act with those appointed by the House, which was laid on the 
table. In consequence of there having been made charges of misman- 
agement on the part of the banks of the District of Columbia, a 
certain citizen of Washington published in the National Intelligencer of 
January 16, 1836, a statement showing that tlie banks of the District 
were prepared to meet their liabilities immediately, if necessary, in 
the following ratio: The Bank of Wasliington, 49.84 per cent.; Patriotic 
IJank of Washington, 71.81 per cent.; Bank of the Metropolis, 46.88 
per cent.; Union Bank of Georgetown, 78.30; Farmers and Mechanics' 
Bank of Georgetown, 54.52 per cent.; Farmers' Bank of Alexandria, 
43.21; Bank of Potomac, 51.85 per cent. 

For each dollar of liabilities, except capital stock, each bank had 
assets as follows: Bank of Washington, §3,30; Patriotic Baidc, .^$1.64; 
Bank of the Metropolis, |1.39; Union Bank of Georgetown, !^2.46; 
Farmers and Mechanics' Bank of Georgetown, |3,05; Farmers' Bank 
of Alexandria, $1.57; Bank of Potomac, |2.32. 

The entire circulation of the seven banks of the District at that 
time was $964,799,90, The specie possessed by them was $643,585,52. 
The aggregate liabilities of 'the seven banks, exclusive of their ca})ital 
stock, was $2,813,925,26, and their cash funds amounted to $1,492,- 
814.56. To meet these balances the banks had discount notes amount- 
ing to $3,141,559.95; real estate, $318,688.25, and stocks, $228,301.93; 
total, $3,688,550.13, a surplus of $2,367,439.43. 

The bill rechartering the banks of the District was at length 
passed by Congress in June, 1836, their several charters being ex- 
tended to July 4, 1838. In August, 1836, the Branch Bank of the 
United States, in Washington, Richard Smith cashier, advertised its 
property for sale. In Washington this property consisted of somewhat 
more than forty lots, some of them vacant, and some of them having 
houses upon them. In Georgetown there were several lots with houses 
upon them; and besides all these, there was a tract of land in Vir- 
ginia and another in Maryland. 


On May 13, 1836, a notice was pnblished in the press b}- the 
Bank of Washington, and by the Bank of the Metropolis in ahiiost 
identical language, to the effect that notwithstanding information had 
reached Washington of the suspension of specie payments by the 
banks in New York, as well as by some of those in Philadelphia 
and Baltimore, they had determined to continue to pay specie; and, 
satisfied of the strength of their respective banks, "the president, 
directors, and cashier have determined to pledge their private fortunes 
for all just claims against the institution." This was a part of the 
notice in the case of each bank. Of the Washington Bank, W. Gunston 
was president, and J. Adams cashier; of the Bank pf the Metropolis, 
General John P. Van jSTess was president, and George Thomas cashier. 
The Farmers and Mechanics" Bank of Georgetown also refused to 

The determination to suspend specie payments liad been arrived 
at in iSTew York on May 11, and was the result of the peculiar and 
o-reat stringency of the times. This great stringency was itself the 
result of President Jackson's "Experiment,'* and was brought to a 
crisis by his famous "Treasury circular," issued a short time pre- 
viously, exacting specie in payment for all public lands, under the 
operations of which circular the receipts for public lands was reduced 
from $24,800,000 in 1836, to !#6,700,000 in 1837. This circular, how- 
ever, permitted duties on imports into the Atlantic cities to be 
paid in bank notes. It is a singular circumstance that the Govern- 
ment itself, by one of its deposit banks, was the lirst to refuse the 
payment of specie. This occurred about May 1, 1836, at Natchez, 
Mississippi, Treasury drafts for a large sum of money being refused 
payment by the Planters' Bank of Mississippi, and protested. "All 
this comes of the ignorance and folly which enforced the Treasury 
circular. The Administration, however, in thus warring against the 
prosperity of the country, by undertaking to regulate the deposits, 
and the currency, for party purposes, has dug its own grave, and 
would bury the country also in it, rather than retract its wicked 
measures or acknowledge its errors. We anticipate that you must 
also suspend specie pa3'ments in the North, and look with deep 
anxiety for news by every mail."' 

It was explained in the interest of the New York banks, that 
their suspension was rendered necessary by a continual drain upon 
their specie resources in response to demands from Philadelpliia and 

' Letter written from Natchez, May .">, 18:lG, to a correspondent in Philadelphia. 

///STORY OF /i.lN/K'/NG. 371 

Baltimore; and the benefit of tlie measure was realized by the united 
action of the banks of New York. Then, when New York refused 
to pay specie in her dealings with Philadelphia and lialtimore, and 
other cities, it of course became necessary for those other cities to 
refuse to pay specie in their dealings with New York. The suspen- 
sion thus became general throughout the country, the Bank of the 
United States acting in concert with the other banks, and including 
also the Treasury banks; for, when the Treasury banks refused to 
})ay specie, why should otlier banks pay specie to the Treasury banks? 
The Bank of the United States pursued this course, believing the 
measure to be a temporary and precautionary one, and with tlie 
desire to preserve its strength unbroken, so as to be able to lead 
the way to resumption as soon as tlie Government should become 
able to pay its creditors in specie. 

But this universal suspension of specie payments by the banks of 
the country was a most striking object lesson; it was a most unequiv- 
ocal confession of the complete impotence of the banking system then 
in vogue. It also most clearly exposed the quackery of the politico- 
financial invention known as the Safety Fund, which, by being to a 
great extent relied upon, produced a delusion of safety, and, like 
a safety-valve which gets out of order for want of attention, became 
one of the most efficient causes of the suspension which ensued. It 
taught the banks to rely upon the supervision of a common authority, 
and to the chances of a common security, instead of upon that precau- 
tion and sagacious foresight which regulate individual enterprise. 

But one of the most interesting and instructive features of the 
times was that already alluded to, with reference to the Government 
itself suspending specie payments. In Philadelphia, on May 12, some 
of that city's merchants called at the customhouse to make payment of 
bonds, in order to avoid suit for non-payment, as threatened b}^ the 
Secretary of the Treasury in an order issued May 8. These merchants 
ottered notes on the Government deposit bank in payment of the 
bonds, which were refused, the Government requiring payment in gold 
or silver. On the same day, the customhouse in Philadelphia, having 
certain liabilities to meet, refused to pay specie. On May 13, a mer- 
chant in Philadelphia, having to pay a certain sum to the Government, 
tendered payment to the Government deposit bank in its own notes, 
and they were refused, the merchant being told that the Government 
would receive nothing but gold or silver. 

This refusal was in accordance with the following order, issued 
May 12: 


'•'•To Collectors of Cusfoms: 

''If tlie Ijaiik where you de[>ot^it should suspend s[)ecie payments, 

you will yourself collect, and kee}) in your own hands, the })ublic 

money for all duties at your port until further directions are given to 

you by this department how to deposit, transfer, or pay it. You 

must, of course, continue to adhere to the existing laws of Congress, 

and to the former instructions of the Treasury, in respect to the kind 

of money receivable for customs, and by which it is understood to 

be your duty to require payments to be made in specie and in the 

notes of s})ecie banks that are at par. 

"Levi Woodbury, 

"Secretary of the Treasury."' 

A New York merchant, on May 12, 1837, wrote: "Had the 
President ])ut intimated that specie would come back in time, or 
that drafts of New York for specie would be avoided, or that the 
circular would be revoked in the summer, it would have given confi- 
dence; and that is all that was wanted. But nothing — no, nothing 
was done, and the greatest disgrace any Administration has suffered 
to rest upon its head has fallen upon the present. 

"To the dominant authority, then, I would say: You have failed; 
you have failed in establishing a 'better currency'; you have failed 
in the 'experiment'; 3'ou have failed in regulating exchanges; 3'ou 
have failed in a specie currency; you have failed in your safety-fund 
plan; you have failed in putting the deposits in safe keeping; 3'ou have 
failed in relation to the currency; you have failed in ever}' thing but 
but one — you have succeeding in desti-oying the National Bank." 

Throughout the country a national bank was the great desidera- 
tum. This was the constant and continuous refrain: "Give us a 
national bank." But that liad been destroyed, because, as has been 
said before, of President Jackson's hostility to the president of that 
institution, not because of his understanding anything connected with 
the principles of banking or political economy, for of these he under- 
stood but little. Tlie result was wide-spread distress. Bank notes in 
one part of the country were at a great discount, in another })art of 
the country entirely worthless, and the people in the various cities 
were busy in fabricating pa[>er representatives of every part of a 
dollar. In New York, merchants had recourse to checks upon restau- 
rants in the payment of small sums. In Washington, all kinds of 
paper were in circulation, the extreme limit being reached in the 
issue of notes hy a certain bai'ber, whose name might be given, wlio, 


upon tlie presentation of liis notes for redemption, said: " Wiiat do I 
want of those things? I don't want anything to do with them; go 
and buy something with them!" 

May 16, 1837, tlie Bank of the Metropolis of Washington issued 
l)rinted notiees announcing its suspension of s[»ccie payments, and 
then the Bank of Washington, wiiieh had sustained for tljree days a 
lieavy run upon it for specie, finding itself standing alone in the 
cit}', resolved to close its vaults. It was, however, then pre[)ared to 
redeem its circulating notes to the last dollar; but it was thought that 
such a course would only tend to embarrass the mercantile classes, with- 
out relieving the public. This bank, therefore, also suspended on the 
l()th, and was thought to be the last bank to suspend in the Union, 

The fundamental vice of President Jackson was in introducinijf 
and carrying out his "experiment"; not so much in his antipathy to 
the Bank of the United States. His animosity could not so easily 
have destroyed that institution and caused the great evils that 
succeeded, had that animosity been confined within constitutional 
limits. But lie permitted his animosity to lead him to the destruction 
of the bank, which the will of the people clearly indicated they 
wished to stand; and afterward, when the representatives of the peo- 
ple expressed their opinion by a vote of one hundred and nine to 
forty-six that the Bank of the United States was a safe place to keep 
the public deposits, and notwithstanding that the law had given to 
the Secretary of the Treasury unqualified and exclusive power over 
them, when the Secretary of the Treasury refused to remove them, 
then President Jackson removed the Secretary of the Treasury and